AfCFTA opens up opportunities for Viet Nam's trade
VGP – There remains ample room for Vietnamese exports to Africa, as the country accounts for only 0.6 percent of the continent's total import of US$600 billion per year
The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) officially begins in early 2021, when the participating member countries establish a single market covering both the trade and investment sectors, with a total domestic budget (GDP) of US$3.4 trillion.
Over the past decade, Viet Nam-Africa trade has more than doubled, from just US$2.52 billion in 2010 to US$5.5 billion in 2022, according to the Asia-Africa Market Department, Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).
Of the total, Viet Nam's exports were valued at more than US$2.8 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of US$226.3 million.
Viet Nam mainly shipped rice (US$568.6 million), phones and component parts (US$355.6 million), computers and electronic products (US$210.4 million), and footwear (US$141.8 million) to Africa.
Meanwhile, it bought cashew nuts (US$1.1 billion), metals (US$484.1 million, and wood and wood products (US$114.3 million) from this continent.
In the coming time, to facilitate intra-bloc trade, African nations will pour more capital into infrastructure facilities, thus opening up more opportunities for Vietnamese goods to access more markets, including 15 landlocked countries in Africa.
At present, Viet Nam's main export markets in the region are major economies with seaports such as South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria.
Countries worldwide plan to study, negotiate and sign international trade agreements, especially free trade agreements (FTAs), with the African Continental Free Trade Area.
This will help them save time negotiating with individual countries or regions (Africa currently has 55 countries divided into eight economic regions).
Even if the AfCFTA agreement takes effect across the region, the continent still cannot guarantee the supply of machinery, equipment, rice, textiles, footwear, and processed aquatic products; and still has to depend on imports from foreign countries.
Therefore, Viet Nam has enormous potential to export its essential commodities such as rice, coffee, garment and textiles, footwear, and aquatic products to Africa.
Viet Nam can increase its export of textile, leather and footwear products to Africa by promoting competitive advantages such as low labor costs, good sewing techniques, and high-quality products if the nation or ASEAN negotiates a trade agreement with the AfCFTA./.