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Tea industry works hard on trade-brand promotion

Though one of the world's largest tea exporters, Viet Nam has only VINATEA trademark with its treble tea leaf symbol known in the global market.

Last year Viet Nam exported 60,000 tonnes of tea products to over 60 markets across the world, ranking eighth globally. Middle East, Russia, Eastern Europe and Taiwan are Viet Nam's major markets.

However, the country's exports are mostly unprocessed or semi-processed, thus not bringing in much profit, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). The export volume is far from matching its potential as one of the world's five largest producers with an estimated 108,000 ha of tea are grown, MARD added.

Worse still, like other farm produce, Viet Nam's tea exports enter the world market mostly under foreign trademarks, causing great losses to both exporters and farmers.

To solve the problem, the Tea Corporation is set to launch intensive trade-brand promotion campaigns, pushing for international standard packaging and designs, with a total investment estimated at 5 million USD.

Not just present day but long ago, the corporation already nurtured the scheme through efforts of conducting market surveys and attending international trade fairs. Investments have however been not yet strong enough to achieve the businesses' goal. The national tea giant said huge investments in advertisements might further increase product prices, which were already worsened by other countries' high tariffs on tea imports.

Inferrior footing in the global trademark competition has, however, slowed down the industry's growth especially in the trend for globalisation with the world demand expected to increase between four and five percent a year, said the Trade Ministry.

Along with efforts to systematically improve product quality from selecting high-quality varieties to upgrading processing technology and conducting market surveys to meet the world market's demand, the Viet Nam Tea Businesses Association (VTB) is seeking the Government's financial support in product promotion campaigns.

The campaigns, the VTB said, will focus on promoting Vietnamese-made organic, nutritious and longevity tea products.

The Trade Ministry said it will speed up promotion of Viet Nam's tea culture, support the VTB and its member businesses to set up representative offices and affiliates abroad.

The ministry is calling on foreign Governments, especially in regional countries such as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and China, to sit down for negotiations on lowering import tariffs for Viet Nam's tea products.

The tea industry has provided jobs for 200 businesses and 10,000 farming households in Viet Nam.

VNA - (04/05/2004)

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