By Robyn Molloy

With Australian brands and services held in high regard in Vietnam and the population set to hit 100 million in the next few years, opportunities abound for stronger bilateral ties between WA and the South East Asian nation.

CCIWA’s International Trade and Investment Centre (ITIC) has already helped facilitate more than 260 shipments of goods to Vietnam this year for more than 50 companies.

But SMEs must be prepared to do their research says, says Consul General of Vietnam in Perth Phung The Long, who has been promoting economic ties between WA and his home country since taking up the post in 2016.

To be successful, The Long says businesses should consider the following:

  • researching their market and the county’s legal framework
  • organising a business trip to Vietnam and seeking advice from organisations such as CCIWA
  • seeking a Vietnamese business partner.

“Last but not least, as the proverb goes “when in Rome, do as Romans do” – WA businesses should study and get familiar with business culture of the Vietnamese,” The Long says.

Businesses can short track their research by attending the Vietnam business roundtable organised by the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation (JTSI) on March 1.

The Long will be joined by Asian Engagement Minister Peter Tinley, Vietnam Business Council President David Morgan and other key people at the event which is part of the JTSI’s Asia business series.

WA Vietnam business Council President David Morgan says Vietnam is an open economy looking to become a service manufacturing centre.

“It’s no secret that they manufacture a lot for China now and having the ability to do that has opened up a lot of other trade routes for them,” he says.

He says Vietnam wants to be less reliant on China by attracting more investment from countries such as Australia.

“Being Australian in Vietnam is good and there is a lot of respect.”

ITIC manager Michael Carter says with a middle class population growing exponentially – rising from 12 million in 2012 to more than 30 million next year – the market is showing an appetite for premium products, is tax savvy and well-educated.  

“All of this is contributing to a country that is clocking up 6.5 per cent to 6.8 per cent in GDP growth and likely to go further in that direction,” he says.

“We already have a relationship that is worth $11 billion in terms of two-way trade of goods and services between Australia and Vietnam,” he says.

He says opportunities for WA businesses lie in delivery of health, education, infrastructure and construction services; premium foods and beverages; agribusiness and delivery of mining, engineering and technology services.

“This all comes at a time when Vietnam has become attractive for WA through the framework of the recently concluded Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP),” he says.

“For example, when we think of wine exports to Vietnam, previously under the ASEAN Australia New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) arrangement the import tariff was 80 per cent but is likely to go down in 2028 to 20 per cent.

“In the case of TPP, we will see that import tariff drop to 41 per cent, and next year to 36 per cent, then appreciatively drop away to 0 per cent by 2028.”

Unravelling FTAs

A Free Trade Agreement information seminar featuring Assistant Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Mark Coulton and ITIC’s Tradestart advisor Darren Levy as keynotes will be held on March 5. Find out more about the free event here.

CCIWA’s International Trade and Investment Centre has a team of advisors ready to help with all your trade and investment needs. Discounted services for CCI Members but available for everyone. Call (08) 9365 7620 or email trade@cciwa.com.