The seminar gathered comments on a draft plan by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) to apply IT to connect the national trade promotion information network.

Mr. Pham Viet Duc, Director of Viettrade’s Centre for Information Technology Application For Trade Promotion, said under the scheme, a portal will be set up to link all the websites of trade promotion agencies nationwide, gathering all of their databases and connecting all users through a consistent system.

The current information network of trade promotion groups and businesses is “scattered, overlapping and inconsistent,” said Ms. Doan Thi Thu Thuy, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (Viettrade), under the MoIT.

The move, according to Ms. Thuy, will unify information dissemination between trade promotion agencies and the business community, helping them manage, update and exploit the latest information on trade promotion, quickly seize business opportunities and develop their markets.

Beneficiaries of the system would include trade promotion agencies at the central and local levels, Vietnamese trade offices in foreign countries, business associations, organisations and individuals who wish to connect to the system, Mr. Duc said.

“This helps transmit a large volume of information at a higher speed but a lower cost, and in a comprehensive and synchronous manner,” he added.

Mr. Duc said if the scheme is approved by the government, it is expected that by 2020, 100 percent of domestic enterprises, organisations and individuals and foreign traders can be connected to the system and directly exchange information and seek co-operation opportunities and partners.

They can also access and exploit sources of accurate and official information on Vietnam’s trade promotion activities.

In addition to the advantages brought about by the portal, there were also some limitations, Mr. Duc said.

“As the portal will have to gather a lot of databases and link a number of websites with different Internet addresses to serve various users, its operation system will sometimes face situations like overloaded access or interrupted transmission,” he said.

Staff that are in charge of the portal’s operation will have to be well-trained as they must be responsible for conducting multiple tasks, including managing the content of information and controlling users’ activities and interactions on the portal, he added.