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|A Viet Nam Dairy Products (Vinamilk) booth at an F&B exhibition in Thailand. Vinamilk is one of major Vietnamese brands to have sucessfully expanded its brand in foreign markets.-VNS Photo Bo Xuan Hiep|
Economist Le Dang Doanh said that most Vietnamese farm produce and seafood exported through unofficial channels had no brand names and thus suffered from low export prices.
“A strong and competitive economy has many large businesses with strong international brands,” he noted, adding that brand development, however, was not the strength of Vietnamese enterprises.
Viet Nam is among the world's largest exporters of farm produce and seafood, but few foreign consumers know they're using products from Viet Nam, he said.
“These products are exported without brand names on the packaging. More than 70 per cent of Vietnamese exports are from foreign direct invested companies," he explained.
A representative of the US-based Global Home Visa LLC, who wished to remain anonymous, said that Vietnamese enterprises must have good financial and human resources to build brand names in the US market.
Vietnamese exporters must also be knowledgeable about importing countries' laws and regulations on intellectual property, safety and quality of products, he said.
“With a strict market like the US, enterprises should learn about labeling, packaging and procedures for registering trademark protection,” he added.
To enter the US market, Vietnamese brands also need to be protected from violations made by other competitors.
Bui Hoang Yen, deputy representative of the Office of Trade Promotion Department in HCM City, noted that the newly signed free trade agreements (FTAs) would offer great opportunities for Viet Nam to export products to more than 100 countries.
However, exporters will face increasing trade protectionism and non-tariff barriers as well as stricter standards, especially on food safety and environmental protection.
Vietnamese goods sometimes fail to meet export standards, especially in strict markets like the US, the EU and others.
A programme on high-quality product production should be implemented by State management agencies, she said.
FTAs have opened up trade for domestic companies, but they have also allowed more foreign brands to enter the local market, creating fierce competition, experts said.
A good product with a good trademark will live forever in the heart of consumers, they noted. To build and protect brands, enterprises must invest in standardised production processes, market development, communication and marketing.
Experts also warned that social media and wide usage of IT around the world can be beneficial for building brands, but can also carry risks if comments about products are negative.
The event was organised by the Research Centre for Developing Vietnamese Brands.