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Vietnamese try to conquer foreign markets, leave domestic market to foreigners

VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnamese cannot manufacture products at low costs in Vietnam but can do so in foreign countries.
VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnamese cannot manufacture products at low costs in Vietnam but can do so in foreign countries.


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Dr. Nguyen Van Minh from the Economics and International Trade Institute noted that Vietnam’s key export products cannot be found in domestic retail networks. Vietnam exports rice at VND9,100 per kilo, while Vietnamese consumers pay VND13,000 per kilo for rice.

Bui Trinh, a renowned economist, also said Vietnam exports rice at low prices, but Vietnamese consumers have to buy Thai and Japanese rice at very high prices. He also said that Vietnamese garments are available in many markets in the world, but are rarely found in the domestic market.

“You will not try to sell your products in the domestic market if you know that you will enjoy big preferences with your exports,” he said.

In fact, there are many reasons that explain why Vietnamese manufacturers cannot fully exploit the vast domestic market with nearly 100 million consumers.

Trinh said he knows the owner of V+’s supermarket in Hanoi only sells domestically made products, and his supermarket attracts many buyers. 

“Foreign retailers would prefer distributing the products from their home countries,” Trinh said.

“Vietnamese manufacturers cannot make products at low costs to be competitive in the home market, but they can do that in foreign countries. This is a question for management agencies,” he added.

An analyst commented that it was unreasonable to gather resources to make products for exports. 

Exports, especially processing industry exports, do not have influences on the domestic income, while they only encourage imports.

The problem is that domestically made content in export products is very low. 

The products, no matter whether they are sold overseas or domestically, are just disguised imports because of the modest added value created in Vietnam.

Vietnamese manufacturers have to struggle hard to bring its products to foreign markets, while leaving the domestic market for foreign manufacturers to conquer.

Minh pointed out that the Vietnam’s textile and garment overall development strategy drawn up by the Ministry of Industry and Trade does not mention plans to exploit the domestic market. Many Vietnamese enterprises admitted they do not make products for the domestic market.

“While Vietnamese are busy looking for the ways to penetrate foreign markets, they leave the domestic market open for foreign manufacturers to enter,” he noted.

In fact, Vietnamese enterprises have realized the importance of the market, but it is now late to begin developing the domestic market now.

Dat Viet

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