Official pledges to bring Vietnamese brands to Walmart

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Workers process cashew nuts at Nhat Huy Company in Binh Duong Province. The company has signed an MoU with the US's second-largest retailer Kroger. Photo courtesy of Tuoi Tre

The Vietnamese embassy in the US will try to talk the world's leading retailer Walmart into selling Vietnamese products, the embassy's trade counsellor said.

Dao Tran Nhan told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the embassy would approach Walmart representatives to facilitate deals for Vietnamese producers.

Nhan said Vietnam's Trade Commission in San Francisco has plans to invite the vice president of Walmart to Vietnam to join talks with related ministries and trade agencies.

He said the commission would use its experience earlier this year of working with the US's second-leading retailer Kroger -- which  operates 2,400 supermarkets for a total revenue of US$94 billion -- to help it work with Walmart.

Kroger met with 128 businesses in Ho Chi Minh City and has signed memorandums of understanding with some of them.

But Nhan also said that the retailing giants have countless offers waiting for them.

"Vietnamese businesses will have to make due investments and do research to be viewed as a candidate."

He said the retailers only cooperate with large companies that produce orders of millions of items each.

Major supermarkets in the US demand quality, specific label formats, bar codes, and proof of origins.

Most Vietnamese products that are being sold to the US are raw and have to be processed into forms suitable for the American market.

But a Kroger representative has said that if Vietnamese products meet all requirements, they will be put straight onto shelves as the retailer also wishes to increase its diversity, Nhan said.

He said Vietnamese products also need to be consistent to maintain long-term contracts.

He said the country's best products for the US supermarket sector are seafood, garment, woodworks, cashew nuts, bamboo interiors and coffee.

The counsellor said the Trade Commission would stand by Vietnamese businesses working in the US, whose market conservationists would not hesitate to file anti-dumping lawsuits regularly against outsiders.

Vietnam won a recent lawsuit when the US Department of Commerce in September ruled that 33 Vietnamese firms that were hit with anti-dumping duties on shrimp they exported in 2011-12 did not have to pay it after all.

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