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Many buyers expected for first ever HCM City Handicrafts Fair   2010-03-08 - DTCK

Vietnam has yet to reap the benefits of hosting a world-class trade fair.  ‘Lifestyle Vietnam’ is a beginning, but bigger budgets and better infrastructure are needed, says the Handicraft Exporters Association.


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Vietcraft, the Vietnam Handicraft Exporters’ Association, is organizing its first ever international trade fair of handicrafts, fine arts, woodwork and gifts, ‘Lifestyle Vietnam,’ in HCM City in April.  Generally, preparations are going well, Vietcraft Secretary General Le Ba Ngoc told the business journal Đau Tu; many foreign enterprises have confirmed that they will participate.


However, Ngoc adds, a partner from Canada has pulled out, explaining that it had received a better offer from a trade fair in Spain.  The Spanish organizer subsidizes all the expenses for participants.


“We are inferior to our rivals, at least in terms of budget,” Ngoc notes.


Importers that attend a trade fair in Hong Kong will get $230 whether they place orders or not. In the Philippines, trade fair organizers not only gift the buyers $230, but also pick them up and deliver them back to the airport.


Though Lifestyle Vietnam is a big event for Vietnam, with three billion dong in support to vendors from the Government, on a world scale it’s really modest.


A second handicap is poor infrastructure. In Vietnam, no trade fair center is larger than 10,000 square meters.  By comparison, there’s a 91,500 square meter venue in Hong Kong, a 60,000 square meter space in Singapore, and a 45,000 square metre site in Bangkok.


People are talking about these matters because enterprises have realised that organizing trade fairs is a very effective way to popularize Vietnam-made products.  And it’s economical.  Ngoc of Vietcraft says that 69 Vietnamese enterprises spent a total of $2,000,000 to show their goods at the Ambiente Fair in Frankfurt.  That’s ten times what it would cost them to participate in a trade fair organized in Vietnam.


It’s obvious, Ngoc says, that Vietnam needs to hold more trade fairs, and to bring into play its national advantages.  “We’re a country with 2017 craft villages,” he points out.  “How’s that for diversity?”


Vietnamese enterprises’ experience in production, quality control and exporting should also be seen as a considerable advantage.  It’s an industry that clocked  $4 billion in total revenues in 2009.  With the recovery of the import demand in the post-crisis period, Vietnam now has big opportunities to boost exports to the markets.


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