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Handicrafts sector faces barriers in boosting exports
Nov '10
Le Hoang Oanh, Deputy Head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Trade Promotion Department, while speaking at a seminar recently said that, unavailability of information regarding market demands, their small size and obsolete machinery have all rendered the efforts of the small-scale handicraft firms ineffective, to increase their exports.

The official said that, owing to all these reasons the product quality was uneven and the design also was not diverse.

As compared to the products from Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong and mainland China, the handicraft products of Vietnam are found to be less competitive, Tran Van Thi of the Marketing and Finance University said.

The biggest hurdle coming in the way of these businesses is the want of funds to spend on technology and machinery. Further, as they greatly depend on raw material that they source from other countries, this too restricts their production.

Europe, ASEAN, the US, Australia, China, India, Malaysia, Germany, and Ukraine are some of the key markets to which Vietnam exports its handicraft products, with items like handbags, umbrellas, hats, bamboo, porcelain, rattan, pottery and wooden goods constituting their main exports.

Thi gave an idea of the eccentricity and the policies prevalent in the overseas markets which according to him the exporters ought to know, like for example, where Malaysian customers do not prefer buying porcelain or other products featuring pictures of people or animals or that, German buyers like to purchase eco friendly items.

Local authorities here need to train the artisans in the area of marketing and technology, and should also provide financial assistance to the craft villages by means of favourable land and loan policies. Also these authorities may assist in publicizing the brand names of the conventional craft villages through multimedia, and may also help the artisans to upgrade their skills through training, Thi said.

The domestic handicraft manufacturers need to establish strong connections with exporters, so that they can gain access to foreign markets, and should also link up with travel agencies so that they can directly get in touch with foreign tourists and sell their products to them, he added.

Next to China and Indonesia, Vietnam is the third biggest exporter of handicraft items, and posted an export turnover of US$ 880 million, last year.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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