HO CHI MINH CITY, April 8 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam will host an International Grape and Wine Festival in central Ninh Thuan province from April 17-19, with the aim of promoting exchange, seeking investment opportunities and attracting more tourists, said organizers on Tuesday.
The festival is expected to draw more than 100 booths showcasing products made from grapes of domestic and foreign wine- producing companies from France, Chile, Argentina, Australia, Hungary, the United States, South Africa and Germany.
Seminars on grape farming and grape wine processing will be held during the three-day event.
Ninh Thuan province, about 1,100 km south of capital Hanoi, has the largest acreage under grape cultivation in Vietnam, mostly in Ninh Phuoc, Ninh Hai districts and Phan Rang city.
Every year it harvests approximately 15,000 tons of grapes and ships more than 10,000 tons to provinces and cities across the country.
Vietnam is rated as one of the most dynamic wine markets in Asia. Wine imports in 2011 grew 56 percent over the previous year and reached 77.8 million U.S. dollars. Favorable growth perspectives, improving personal incomes as well as a growing tourism industry are main reasons to explain why Vietnam has become an attractive market for wine makers all around the world.
France has been Vietnam's top supplier of wines in the past years, in 2011 alone accounting for 14.8 percent of Vietnam's imports, followed by Italy (2.3 percent) and Spain (0.7 percent).
However, Chile could replace France as the largest provider of wine in the Vietnamese market after the Chile-Vietnam free trade agreement (FTA) took effect from January 2014, said a former Chilean trade union official.
When the FTA is implemented, the import tax on Chilean wine shipped to Vietnam will drop from 56 percent to 20 percent this year and will approach zero over the next 11 years.
Chilean wine now accounts for 20 percent of the Vietnamese market, second only to France, which claims 35 percent.
According to preliminary statistics released by Chilean customs, Chile exported 10 million U.S. dollars worth of wine to Vietnam in 2011. About 30 Chilean wine producers are currently exporting their products to Vietnam.