HO CHI MINH CITY, July 17 — Malaysia could become one of the biggest export markets in ASEAN for Vietnam, especially in the post-pandemic period, a city official said at a meeting in Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday.

Deputy Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Investment and Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC), Nguyen Tuan told a seminar on exports to Malaysia organised by the centre, economic and trade co-operation between the countries has been growing in recent years, reports Vietnam News Agency (VNA).

Vietnam and Malaysia are members of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), he said.

In 2016, Malaysia surpassed Singapore to become Vietnam’s second-largest trading partner in ASEAN after Thailand, he said.

It is the third-largest export market for Vietnam in the region after Thailand and Cambodia, he added.

Bilateral trade last year was worth US$11.1 billion, with Vietnam’s exports being US$3.8 billion, or 15 per cent of the country’s total export to ASEAN member countries.

The pandemic has severely affected almost all socio-economic aspects like health, transportation, tourism, education and trade, he said.

Due to the pandemic, in the first half of the year Vietnam’s exports to Malaysia declined by 17.4 per cent year-on-year to US$1.6 billion, he said.

“The centre has taken drastic measures to support businesses to increase exports by developing new supply chains and expanding and diversifying export markets.”

Malaysia’s trade commissioner in Ho Chi Minh City, Raphy Md Radzi said Vietnam and Malaysia are important trade partners and should enhance promotions to achieve their trade targets after the pandemic.

Vietnamese exporters could also co-ordinate with Malaysian service companies for the distribution of their goods globally, he added.

Chairman of the Malaysia Business Chamber Theng Bee Han, also said, “Vietnamese businesses should not only consider Malaysia a potential export market but also co-operate with Malaysian companies to tap the world market.”

Malaysia has a large Muslim population, and therefore exports to it must meet Halal standards for products like food, medicine and cosmetics, and should also comply with food safety, labelling and traceability regulations, he said.

It is expected that by 2030 the global Halal industry will be worth US$30.6 trillion including US$1.1 trillion in the Asia Pacific region, with Malaysia accounting for US$228.5 billion, he said.

Vietnamese farm produce and seafood products meet Malaysia’s food standards, and when they receive Halal certification, they could be exported to the country, he said.


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