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Canadian Trade Mission Explores Vietnam’s Key Sectors with Dezan Shira & Associates

On March 27, 2024, at the InterContinental Saigon Hotel, experts from Dezan Shira & Associates provided valuable insights to Canadian companies participating in a Team Canada Trade Mission to Ho Chi Minh City. Hosted by the Consulate General of Canada in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and led by the Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade, and Economic Development of Canada, Honourable Mary Ng, this mission marked the largest Canadian trade delegation to Vietnam yet, with over 100 Canadian companies converging on HCMC to explore sector opportunities through seminars, pre-scheduled B2B meetings, networking events, and site visits.

With a wealth of experience in the Vietnamese market, Dezan Shira & Associates delivered sector-specific market briefings covering three pivotal industries for Canadian companies seeking to expand in Vietnam: clean technologies, life sciences, and agri-food.

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Partner Kyle Freeman led the session on clean technologies, clean energy, and green infrastructure in Vietnam. He delved into the implications of climate change for the Southeast Asian nation, explained the local carbon market, outlined Vietnam’s energy transition plan, discussed ESG reporting, and provided a comprehensive SWOT analysis for the market. Notably, Vietnam stands as one of the first participants in the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP), with Canada serving as a partial funder.

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Reflecting on the session, Mr. Freeman remarked, “Giving the sectoral briefing to the delegation was not only a great opportunity for us to brief delegates about opportunities in Vietnam, but to also hear more from them about their specific interests in the sectors.  As Canada’s largest-ever trade mission to Vietnam, it was impressive to see overwhelming interest in Vietnam represented by government officials and companies alike.”

Country Director of Vietnam, Vivie Wei, addressed the agriculture and processed foods sector, including fish and seafood. She offered valuable insights into market dynamics, retail industry intricacies, opportunities, challenges, and the product registration process. Her presentation also included deeper market insights into the Vietnamese consumer landscape, emphasizing the demand for high-quality Canadian products in an underserved market – with Canadian lobster, maple syrup, and cranberry products highly sought after by local consumers.

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Pritesh Samuel, Director of Business Intelligence (BI), and BI Manager Do Thanh Huyen, delved into another sector experiencing tremendous growth in the Vietnamese market owing to a fast-growing middle class and the increasing demand for quality health care: life sciences. Their presentation covered the growing natural health, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and digital health subsectors, introducing market needs, local demand, regulatory landscapes, opportunities, challenges, and key players in each subsector.

Despite the growing demand for quality and general trust in Canadian products and services, the requirements for foreign firms operating in this space are complex, and companies must prepare their entry carefully. Working with a local partner on the ground is crucial for businesses seeking to tap into Vietnam’s burgeoning market.

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Canada and Vietnam’s Growing Trade Relationship

Mr. Freeman emphasized the bilateral relationship between Vietnam and Canada, “Vietnam is Canada’s largest trade partner in ASEAN and two-way trade has grown tremendously in recent years, especially since the implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in 2018, a multilateral free trade agreement both countries are party to.”

Since the CPTPP went into force, Vietnamese exports to Canada surged 60% from 2018-2023, with bilateral trade reaching CA$14 billion in 2023.

The Momentum of Foreign Direct Investment in Vietnam

Global foreign direct investment (FDI) in Vietnam is on track to grow immensely in 2024. In January and February of this year, FDI grew 38.6% compared to the same period last year. Vietnam also granted 405 new projects investment certificates. Additionally, total registered capital doubled compared to the first two months of 2023 to US$3.6 billion.

Anticipated Opportunities for Canadian Companies

Reflecting on the future of Canadian trade and investment with Vietnam, Mr. Freeman added, “With Canada’s ongoing development and implementation of its Indo-Pacific Strategy, we anticipate further burgeoning opportunities for Canadian companies in Vietnam.”

Further Resources

For further resources on doing business in Vietnam and Canada’s relationship with the Southeast Asian country, explore the links below:

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