Vietnamese companies are looking at the Middle East to increase exports and find business partners.
Many leading Vietnamese companies are keen to start business in the region.
Pinaco, a leading Vietnamese dry cell and storage cell manufacturer, is keen to increase its export to the Middle East and African market through a dealer in Dubai.
Vietnam opened an embassy in the UAE in 2008 and more companies are keen to open base here.
Tran Thanh Van, Vice-General Director, Pinaco, told Emirates Business: "We are looking for companies and traders in the region to sell our dry cell and storage batteries in bulk quantity. We export 15 per cent of our total production abroad and our production capacity has increased substantially. We are looking for export markets in the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia."
The company exports about $2 million (Dh7.3m) worth of storage batteries and dry cell to the UAE.
"As the lead price was going up, the battery demand was down due to high cost. After lead price started coming down, there was a growth in demand. The economic crisis has affected demand for batteries, especially storage cells," he said adding that improved relationship between Vietnam and the UAE will help his company's business.
About 18,000 Vietnamese people work in the UAE and many UAE companies have projects in Vietnam.
Vietnam is an agrarian economy where majority of people work in agriculture sector, but 70 per cent of the GDP comes from industry and only 30 per cent comes from cultivation. The company has three battery factories – Dong Nai Battery factory (capacity 500,000 Kwh per year), Sai Gon Battery factory (capacity 500,000 Kwh per year) and Eagle Dry cell factory (capacity 250 million units per year). In anticipation of 10 per cent annual growth, the company has a new plant (capacity 2,000,000 Kwh per year).
He said the company's storage cells are efficient and cheaper than the multinational brands like Excide.
The Vietnamese Government is also supporting companies like Pinaco to find new markets. Pinaco is one of the 13 companies that are looking for business partners and clients in the UAE.
Trading companies, mineral water companies, ceramics, handicraft and art makers, furniture and other products
Anh Caprile, Export Executive, Vina Gia Gia Corporation, a company making pictures made of precious stones, said: "We sell this among tourists and local customers. These hand-made art works are made of precious stone of Yen Bai and Nghe An provinces in Vietnam."
The company is keen to have a business partner in Dubai to market its washable gemstone pictures sold in the range of $130 to $250 per piece. She said the company has export offices in Europe and it is the first time they are in the Middle East.
"We get a lot of Middle Eastern tourists and customers in Vietnam. We are here for the first time." Vietnam has the most beautiful gemstones, ruby and sapphire and jewellery, she added.
Da Trung Viet, General Manager, Saigon Pottery Co, said the company's Australian partner has already made antique products popular in Australia.
"A lot of property developers in the UAE are keen to buy our products in a range of $100 to $600 per item. We are looking for big property developers who can buy big volumes. These items are appealing to people from around the world. Our first stock was sold in no time. We haven't seen any decline in sales. Rather our sales have gone up by 20 per cent in 2008," he said.
Bilateral trade reaches $1.19bn
According to Vietnam Government sources, trade between Vietnam and the Middle East reached $1.19 billion (Dh4.3bn) in 2007 – $700 million from Vietnamese exports.
Last year, the country imported $400m worth of products from the Middle East – petroleum, petrochemicals, fertilisers, chemicals, and steel and plastic products.
Vietnam's key export items to the Middle East are rice, coffee, textiles and garments, computer and electronic components, footwear, seafood, rubber, coal, tea and wooden furniture. Besides the UAE, Vietnamese products are also shipped to Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
In the Middle East, Vietnam has already seen a shift from a trade deficit to a trade surplus and the UAE and Turkey are now Vietnam's leading export markets in the Middle East.
In 2007, Vietnam's exports to the UAE amounted to $233m, and $202m to Turkey. A memorandum of understanding signed between the UAE and HCM City, Binh Thuan and Quang Ninh province outlines many feasible projects – a five-star Ha Long Star Hotel complex, a project on West Ha Long worth $10bn, Van Don International Airport, a road project from Ha Long to Mong Cai in Quang Ninh and Thu Thiem and Hiep Phuoc urban areas in HCM City.
A number of agriculture investment projects are also in the pipeline. Vietnam is also considering areas to cultivate rice for export to the UAE.