I. Position, role of the trade village
- A brief history
According to the history, handicraft products in our country appeared since the age of Dong Son, thousands of years ago, namely metallurgy, bronze casting, iron forging in order to serve the agriculture. Then, in the centuries XI-XIV, as the State of Dai Viet was restored to former prosperity, handicrafts products appeared more and more and increasingly sophisticated, namely ceramics, weaving, making traditional paper, folk pictures, bronze casting, etc...A great number of regional trade villages became famous in all of the country, from the North to the South; however, several trade villages were concentrated in the North, especially in the Delta of the Hong river, Ma river, Day river; it is considered as the cradle of the numerous trade villages of Vietnam.
- Notion of trade villages and its classification
For a long time, the notion of trade villages has been understood in many different ways. Some researchers believe that “Trade village is a social-economic institution in the rural areas, which is composed by two factors village and trade, existing in a given geographical space including many households who earn one’s living mainly by the handicraft, among them there is an economic, social and cultural association”.
+ Classification of trade villages:
A great number of researchers believe that there are two ways of classification: (i) classification by the quantity of trade villages and (ii) classification by the properties of trade.
In 2006, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development promulgated the Circular 116/2006/TT-BNN defining contains and criteria of recognition of traditional trade, trade villages, traditional trade villages.
+ Groups of trade villages:
According to the statistics in 2004, the whole country had 2.017 trade villages, among them, there were around 300 traditional trade villages, including 1,4 million factories with many types of production organization, namely household, group of production, group of cooperation, co-operative, private enterprises, and other types of company.
- Meaning and effect of trade villages
+ Creating jobs:
Developing careers and trade villages, being the main orientation to create jobs for rural workforce, is nowadays a topical question. Trade villages in all the country attracted more than 11 million permanent labours, furthermore, they helped to take full advantage of the labour being more and less than the working age into the suitable stages. Also, the development of trade villages bringing about the growth of the other careers and services, as a result, will create more jobs and more income for the inhabitants of rural areas.
+ Contributing to the shift of economic structure:
In conformity with the process of industrialization and modernization, in the inside of the rural economy, the proportion of industry, craft industry and services will increase, whereas the proportion of agriculture will decrease. Thus, developing the rural careers and trade villages is exactly the main way to shift the rural economic structure in that direction, that is the displacement from the agricultural workers with low productivity and income to workers in othercareers with higher productivity, quality and income.
+ Trade villages contribute considerably to the export value:
To this day, a great number of fine art and craft products of trade villages are exported into over 100 countries and territories. Several products are highly appreciated by foreigner partners. The value of export fine art and craft products increases sharply and is full of promise: in 2000, the export value was only 273,7 million USD; in 2007, this figure rose to 750 million USD. It is not including the wooden furniture and the fine art woodwork that experienced great progress in 2007 and achieved export value of 2,365 milliard USD.
+ Preserving, restoring and expanding trade villages are not only the economic development in common meaning, but also the development of national cultural values in economic growth
+ Trade villages play an important role in developing cultural tourism, introducing to Vietnamese people and foreigners cultural characteristics, manners and customs of each ethnic group, each trade village, in order to diversify tourism products
II. Mission of preservation and development of trade villages in the new context
- Trade villages with the task of building up new rural areas
Trade villages with the whole country are coming into the new period: development and integration. In the social-economic development tendency of the industrialization and modernization of the country, trade villages must retain its traditions, preserve and expand careers of traditional fine art and handicraft; on the other hand, they have to get used to requirements of the modern civilized life, create more new products, both develop the economy and care about social development and environmental protection, in order to guarantee the firm development of trade villages.
- Opportunities and challenges
+ Opportunities: (i) improvement of law system, market economy institution and business environment, (ii) enlargement of market, productivity and investment scale, and (iii) rise of equality in commercial litigations.
+ Challenges: (i) tough competitiveness, (ii) elimination for weak enterprises and unskilled workers, (iii) increase of mutuality among countries, evolutions of world market influencing strongly domestic market.
- The new questions
+ Current essential difficulties, weaknesses of trade villages:
Firstly, lack of capital for production and business.
Secondly, difficulties in terms of consumer market: (i) narrowing of consumer market, (ii) almost all Vietnamese trade villages having less experiences in approaching markets.
Thirdly, trade villages suffering many pressures from worker-job problems: (i) rise of the unemployment, (ii) lack of qualified workers, and deficiency of succeeding staff.
Fourthly, heavy pollution of the environment.
Fifthly, difficulties in terms of space for production.
Sixthly, slow innovation in designs and models.
Seventhly, backward technology level.
Eighthly, weak enterprise management level.
+ Orientation of preservation and development:
Researchers divided trade villages into four categories: (i) trade villages having stable markets, and promise of development, (ii) trade villages developing moderately, with unstable markets, (iii) trade villages facing difficulties, but having opportunities to develop, (iv) trade villages declining due to markets being reduced considerably.
+ Difficulties in the short term:
From the end of 2007 until now, due to negative effects of the world financial crisis and weaknesses inside the own economy, our economy is facing great difficulties in the development process: high inflation rate, escalation of prices, problems in production and workers’ life…The Government put forward eight groups of solution to restrain the inflation, stabilize the macro-economy and guarantee the social security. The implementation of these solutions brought initial results; the economic context is experiencing a number of positive changes, and however, the attained results are not actually stable.
III. The main solutions
- Firstly, solutions in terms of market and product:
+ Expanding the market, finding out the output for the product
+ Constructing market strategy, product strategy
- Secondly, improving the quality of planning of each local area
- Thirdly, solving requirements in terms of space for trade village enterprises
- Fourthly, speeding up infrastructure construction
- Fifthly, developing a greater number of trade village enterprises
- Sixthly, settling capital demand for trade villages
- Seventhly, applying science, technology into production and business
- Eighthly, building and developing human resources
- Ninthly, reinforcing the State’s administration function
- Tenthly, expanding the role of the associations