Quality improvement key for farm produce exporters to EU

Tuesday, 2016-06-28 17:34:17
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NDO/VNA – Meeting the EU’s quality standards and demands in corporate social responsibility are key for Vietnamese exporters of agricultural products to succeed in the European market, heard a conference held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in Hanoi on June 28.

Many economists at the event agreed that so far, domestic firms have yet to make proper preparation to tap all benefits from the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement (EVFTA), including tariff advantages.

Nguyen Tuan Hai, deputy head of the VCCI Department for International Relations, noted that Finland and Northern Europe, with long winters and high demand for agricultural products and seafood, are promising markets for Vietnam .

Furthermore, the governments of Finland and Northern European countries consider Vietnam as one of the few countries that should receive support and encouragement in exporting to their markets, said Hai, who is also director of a project to support businesses in Finnish and Northern European markets (Project FLC 14-04).

Currently, the EU is one of the top markets for Vietnam’s agricultural and fishery products, including coffee, cocoa, peppercorn, cashew and shrimp. Vietnam’s exports makes up nearly two thirds of the total trade between the two sides. The EU is also a market with high and stable consumption.

However, many Vietnamese farm products are experiencing a drop in volume, price and market share. For instance, the percentage of Vietnamese tea exported to the EU fell to seven percent in 2014 from 20 percent in 2007, due to a lack of an origin certificate and high chemical residues.

Participants at the event noted that many enterprises are still confused about expanding their marketshare in the EU. Many firms are still exporting raw products, thus decreasing added value as well as job opportunities for Vietnamese labourers.

Cao Thanh Diep, deputy head of the ASEAN Desk under the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Multilateral Trade Policy Department, emphasised that Vietnamese farm produce exporters should build trademarks for their products to raise competitiveness.

They also need to study the EU market carefully, as it requires high product quality as well as corporate social responsibility, she added.