I am writing this column from Vietnam with a population of over 93 million people and where fifty per cent of the population own scooters which in Ho Chi Minh City (the locals still refer to it as Saigon) accounts for thirty seven per cent of the air pollution!

Crossing the street is an art and not one for the faint-hearted.

The country has experienced an average GDP growth of six per cent over the last twenty years and is projected to grow by 6.8 per cent in 2019.   Certainly a market close to Australia to keep on the radar.

Domestic demand is in part driving growth with, like other Asian economies, a growing middle class.   The median age is thirty.

Opportunities exist in the agribusiness, food and beverage, aviation and aerospace, defence, health care, mining, oil and gas, ICT, energy, transport and water management sectors.

Vietnam is covered by two Free Trade Agreements with Australia, the ASEAN Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Australia’s major exports to Vietnam include coal, cotton, wheat, and, iron ores and concentrates.

Australia’s major imports from Vietnam include telecom equipment and parts, crude petroleum, footwear, and, monitors, projectors and televisions.

Australia ranks 12th on Vietnam’s principal import sources.

From Tasmania, major exports to Vietnam are currently zinc and associated products, aluminium and associated products, abalone (where most would find their way to China) and cherries.

Vietnam is a long, thin country and has a long coastline to the South China Sea.  Its land borders are with Cambodia, China and Laos.

I am benefiting very much from my time in Vietnam with Austrade, attending the Food and Hotel Vietnam trade show and researching sales opportunities for Tasmanian goods and services with Austrade’s Business Development Managers in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

I will report further in the June TBR.

For international trade and investment assistance contact the TCCI’s TradeStart Adviser, Sally Chandler, at sally.chandler@tcci.com.au or phone 1300 559 122.