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A delegation of 30 Tanzanian businesses attended the recent Vietnam-Tanzania Business Forum in Hanoi to meet Vietnamese companies. Visitors are engaged in agriculture, agricultural products (rice, pepper, tea, cashew nuts, coffee, etc.), fishing, garment and textile, transportation, agricultural machinery and equipment, pharmaceuticals, energy, electricity, telecommunications, consultancy, finance, and general import and export.
The forum was organised by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in collaboration with Vietnamese agencies and Tanzania Investment Promotion Centre on the occasion of the visit to Vietnam by Tanzanian Minister of Industries, Trade and Investment and Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries with the aim of seeking partners and opportunities of investment cooperation with Vietnamese businesses.
Speaking at the forum, Dr Doan Duy Khuong, VCCI Vice President, said, in spite of being geographically distant, Vietnam and Tanzania have a long-lasting cooperation and are eager to develop this relationship in many areas, particularly in economy, trade, industry and investment. Vietnam always sees Tanzania as a large, potential market in East Africa, which is a gateway to penetrating its neighbouring countries. The trade agreement signed between the two countries in 2011 with the MFN status in bilateral trade has opened up new business opportunities for enterprises of the two countries. This is actually an important legal framework for exchanging and trading goods between two parties.
Mr Julius Kaijage, Vice President of the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA), said, the Government of Tanzania always gives priority to supporting the private sector, pledges to build an open investment and business environment to attract Vietnamese enterprises. TCCIA also wishes to cooperate with VCCI to facilitate enterprises of both sides to do business together.
Mr Charles Mwijaga, Minister of Industries, Trade and Investment, said, Tanzania has a stable political background and is an attractive investment destination whose door is always open to investors. In recent years, Tanzania has reformed both the legal system and policies. As a result of reforms over the past decade, Tanzania has obtained a GDP growth 7 per cent a year, contained a low inflation and ensured a high level of democracy. Investing in Tanzania, investors can reach the market of over 500 million Africans and Central Africans. In addition, with such resources as oil and gas, abundant water, agricultural processing and seafood processing are also the field of cooperation that Tanzania wants to develop with foreign investors.
“Tanzania is ready to welcome Vietnamese companies to invest in tobacco, leather and footwear, and garment and textile. Besides, Vietnam also can manufacture machines and we have invited Vietnamese companies to introduce agricultural machines in Tanzania. Vietnamese companies are always welcomed in Tanzania,” he said.
Mr Ngo Khai Hoan, Deputy General Director of the Africa, West Asia, South Asia Markets Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam, said, the trade value between Vietnam and Tanzania has posted a strong growth in recent years, rising from US$60 million 2011 to US$175 million in 2016 to which Vietnam ran a big deficit.
Vietnam mainly exports textile and garment products and imports cotton and cashew from Tanzania. The African nation is a major supplier of cashew nuts and cotton in Vietnam. In the first three months of 2017 alone, Vietnam imported about US$200 million worth of raw cashew nuts from Tanzania.
Tanzania now has a high demand for importing equipment and technology for cashew processing from Vietnam and hopes to cooperate with Vietnamese companies in textile and garment, dairy, fruit juice and especially agricultural cooperation.
However, the results have not met the potential and expectations of the two countries, with trade turnover staying volatile over the past years, he said, attributing the reason to lack of market information, confidence of the business community and limited understanding of partners.
Therefore, to overcome existing shortcomings and tap great potential, the two sides should increase delegation exchanges at all levels, consider signing a number of cooperation agreements in economic, trade and investment, facilitate and enhance bilateral cooperation to a new high. Moreover, both sides need to exchange information related to trade and investment policies, trade promotion activities, investment and tourism, trade fairs, and lists of imports and exports that each party has comparative advantages.
In particular, Vietnam and Tanzania should continue to create favourable conditions for their businesses to seek cooperation opportunities and mechanisms to promote overseas investment in post and telecom, mining, construction materials, and consumer goods for domestic consumption or for export to third countries.