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As the oldest and most prestigious trade promotion event in Vietnam over the past 30 years, for the first time, the Vietnam Expo 2020 could not be held as usual last year. In 2019, the fair had up to 600 stalls of local businesses from 15 provinces and cities and partners from 23 countries and territories. Notably, five international pavilions welcomed more than 21,000 entrepreneurs.

Also affected by the pandemic, other trade promotion events and exhibitions could not be organized. Many international textile, livestock, agricultural exhibitions in HCM City have been cancelled or postponed until the end of this year to wait for Covid-19 control and resumption of international flights.

Nguyen Thu Hong, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam National Trade Fair & Advertising Company (Vinexad), said that under the impact of Covid-19, commercial transactions must adapt to the online form. Combining online and direct transactions has become a good choice for the exhibition industry.

Since late 2020, Vinexad has used an exhibition model combining online and real booths. Two-way meetings are scheduled and transactions made via an intermediary application during the exhibition.

"We applied the online trading model as soon as the epidemic broke out early last year. The transaction has gradually achieved better results, especially when the remote booth was applied," Hong said.

Bui Thi Thanh An, Deputy Director of the Department of Trade Promotion under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said due to the influence of Covid-19, trade promotion activities have been stuck, so the department has used information technology for promotions. A number of online transactions have been held with very positive results.

For the Chinese market alone, the department last year organized eight to 10 trade promotion events, using the forms of "cloud exhibition" and "no direct contact".

Because it has been impossible to organize direct fairs and exhibitions for trade promotions, many initiatives to promote online trade have been launched and positively supported. The Vietnam Expo this year will use the combined model of traditional booths and "remote booths" in order to deal with obstacles caused by the pandemic.

Many fairs close

Tina Phan, Indochina Market Manager of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, said: "Because it is impossible to bring Vietnamese businesses to Hong Kong to find sources of goods or sell goods, through this event, we will bring Hong King firms back to Vietnam. In addition to helping Hong Kong businesses introduce products to Vietnamese traders through the exhibition, we also want to connect Vietnamese companies with Hong Kong via online platforms."

Mr. Park Ki Young, Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy of South Korea (MOTIE), said that Vietnam is an important partner of South Korea and that Vietnam hopefully would become a major link in the supply chain of South Korea, especially in the fields of automobile, electronics, footwear, and textiles.

In 2021, manufacturing, trading and service firms using this model will be encouraged to participate in online events.

Thu Ky

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