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Sunday, December 4, 2022
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    Call to improve quality of farm products in Vietnam

    THE STAR – Vietnamese exporters need to continue to improve the reliability of agricultural products and ensure quality, safety and sustainability to compete globally, according to industry insiders.

    Deputy Minister of the Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien said that with a number of free trade agreements (FTAs) Vietnam has signed, exporters would have greater opportunities to expand export markets.

    Of the FTAs, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which took effect early this year, brings together the 10 Asean countries, along with Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea, which account for 29 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product and have a population of 2.2 billion.

    Under the world’s largest trade pact, exporters will have an opportunity to expand export markets, especially in key products such as rice, coffee, pepper, cashew nuts, seafood, timber and wood products.

    General secretary of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association Nguyen Phuc Nguyen said the trade deal would also increase the country’s agricultural exports to China, already a major market.

    The trade pact removes tariffs on at least 64 per cent of tariff lines.

    In 15 to 20 years, Vietnam will abolish 89.6 per cent of tariff lines while its partner countries will remove 92 per cent of its tariffs.

    A shop selling rice, nuts and other agricultural products in a market at Ninh Binh, Vietnam. PHOTO: THE STAR

    Other Asean members will remove 85.9 per cent of all tariffs for Vietnam.

    Experts have pointed out major challenges faced by local exporters such as increasingly stricter rules of origin and quality standards and more severe competition from foreign rivals in both the domestic and foreign markets.

    Director of the Ministry’s Department of Agricultural Product Processing and Market Development Nguyen Quoc Toan said another major problem was the weak competitiveness of Vietnamese farm produce.

    This is largely because processed agricultural products did not have enough value- added content to meet the regulations of the markets, he said.

    In the domestic market, Vietnamese agricultural products would also have to compete with those from member states imported into the country.

    According to Director of the Institute of Regional Research and Development under the Science and Technology Ministry Dr Nguyen Dac Bình Minh, the traceability of export products is a mandatory requirement of multilateral FTAs, especially the FTA with the European Union (EU).

    According to head of the ministry’s department of international cooperation Nguyen Trung Kien the EU is one of Vietnam’s four major export markets for agricultural, forestry and fishery products.

    The EU is also one of the world’s three largest markets for agricultural, forestry and fishery products.

    The EU spends about USD1 trillion on food and beverage annually, including USD300 billion on imports.

    To increase the competitiveness of agricultural exports to the EU, it is important to reduce transportation costs and develop brands.

    Under the national green growth strategy for the 2021-2030 period, the ministry will develop a low-carbon commercial agriculture toward a circular and smart economy, climate resilience, and higher competitiveness for green agro-products.

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