Myanmar, which has begun to open its economy after several decades, presents major opportunities for Vietnamese companies despite cumbersome trade regulations, experts say.
Tran Kim Chung, chairman of C.T. Group, a distributor of Vietnamese goods in Myanmar, said while the market is dominated by cheap Chinese products, consumers are now willing to pay more for higher quality.
This is a good chance for Vietnamese producers to enter the market, he said.
"Many Vietnamese products have made a good impression in Myanmar and are selling very well," Chung said, adding that his company has helped 34 Vietnamese sell their products in Myanmar.
Huynh Van Thon, chairman of An Giang Plant Protection Joint-Stock Company, said Myanmar is a very promising market since the economy is in need of new production technologies.
Thon said his company has sent agricultural experts to Myanmar and plans to establish a factory for plant protection products there.
Dam Trung Bac, Honorary Consul General of Myanmar in Ho Chi Minh City, said one of the obstacles facing Vietnamese companies is a regulation that bans foreign trading companies to operate on their own in Myanmar. As a result, Vietnamese businesses need to partner with a local firm that already has import and export licenses.
He also said customs procedures are complicated while transportation costs from Vietnam to Myanmar are also higher than from China or Thailand.
Economist Le Dang Doanh said development of the Myanmar market is still hindered by several factors including incomplete infrastructure, corruption and low-quality workforce.
Vietnamese businesses should consider their strategies carefully before making an entry, he said.
Still, the market is attractive for many investors around the world looking for new businesses opportunities, he said. "Myanmar has a large market, with cheap labor costs, young workforce and plenty of natural resources."
Vietnam aims to boost bilateral trade with Myanmar to US$500 million in 2015 from $167 million last year.
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