Can you give us an overall assessment of Vietnam’s exports of aqua-products to the European Union since August 1 when the EVFTA came into effect?
In the first nine months of 2020, Vietnam’s agro, forestry and aqua-culture products earned almost US$52.8 billion – about $7.2 billion higher than the original target and an increase of 15 per cent compared to the same period last year.
In the same period under review, our agro products also earned $30.5 billion, an increase of 1.6 per cent against the same period last year.
Regarding export markets, the US remains the biggest with over $7.5 billion, an increase of 19.3 per cent compared to the same period last year.
Since the EVFTA came into force, Vietnam’s exports of agro, forestry and aqua-products to the EU have made remarkable growth. In August and September, Vietnam earned over $766 million in export turnover.
How can Vietnam increase exports of agro-forestry and timber products to the European Union?
Following Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s approval of the plan to implement the EVFTA, the MARD has been developing a plan of action for the agriculture sector. It has also been working closely with localities and enterprises nationwide to develop an overall plan to facilitate conditions for the export of Vietnam's agro products to the EU.
Meanwhile, Vietnamese enterprises also developed detailed plans on how to implement the EVFTA when it came into force on August 1. Vietnamese agro products are exported to over 190 countries and territories worldwide. What’s more important is that Vietnamese products have been highly rated in the EU market.
Vietnamese agro and aqua products have been highly appreciated in the European market, particularly shrimp and tra fish. Do you have any comments about the exports of these products to the EU in the near future?
It is projected that exports of our agro and aqua products will continue to increase in the coming months. Besides our traditional products like shrimp and tra fish, we’ll try hard to expand the export market to the 27 member countries of the European Union. We are even thinking about exporting tra fish to the Russian market. Right now we have received an order from a company for over 300,000 tonnes of tra fish to this market.
Some people say the preferential tax is just an initial step for Vietnam to bring its agro-forestry and aqua products to the EU market, but in the long run, product quality will be the top requirement. Do you have any recommendations for Vietnamese enterprises?
If we want to secure a foothold in any market, the first criteria we must focus on is the quality of our products, from production and processing to transportation. Last but not least, product supply must be stable. This is the only way for us to increase the value of our products and be able to enter more foreign markets in the future.
Has the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development adopted any plans to help Vietnamese enterprises expand their exports to other markets?
MARD has already adopted a plan to work closely with ministries, enterprises and localities nationwide to discuss measures to promote exports of agro products, particularly in the context of COVID-19. Of course, for the immediate future, we’ll focus on key markets and launch communication campaigns, including trade promotions on how to speed up exports of agro products to EU countries in accordance with the EVFTA.
In the meantime, MARD will also work hard on removing technical barriers to expand our exports to other countries, including China, the EU, the Asian-European Economic Alliance, the US, Brazil and others.