Vietnam bolsters agricultural exports amid growing protectionism
Updated : Monday, June 04, 2018 4:30 PM (GMT+0700)

Vietnamis working to accelerate agricultural exports as growing global protectionismhas impacted international trade and export of Vietnamese staples.

Vietnam bolsters agricultural exports amid growing protectionism - Photo: VNA

Roughseas for Vietnamese agricultural products

To protect its domesticcatfish industry, the US Department of Commerce decided to levy duties of 3.87USD per kilogramme for Vietnamese tra fish. This is the highest tax rate everapplied for Vietnamese frozen catfish fillets, making it difficult for local exportersto access the US market.

According to Truong DinhHoe, General Secretary of Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters andProducers (VASEP), Vietnamese shrimp and fish have been taxed at an unfairanti-dumping rate since 2003 when Vietnam’s seafood exports only reached 1-2billion USD a year.

Other seafood products liketra fish and tuna have been subjected to rigorous scrutiny before they areallowed to reach US consumers. Tra fish is examined from breeding, harvestingto processing and export processes under the catfish examination programmecarried out from August, 2017.

Meanwhile, tuna product mustreceive a “dolphin safe” label from the Earth Island Institute before enteringthe US. 

Taking effect from theoutset of this year, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’sSeafood Import Monitoring Programme sets out reporting and recordkeepingrequirements for 13 imported seafood products, which was said to preventillegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU)-caught seafood from coming to the US.

The US has filed 25anti-dumping petitions on Vietnamese products so far, said Chu Thang Trung,deputy director of the Trade Remedies Authority of Vietnam under the Ministryof Industry and Trade. As most Vietnamese small-medium sized firms lackexperience in safeguard measures, they may face fierce competition and losemarket share.

Apart from seafood, Vietnamalso experienced stagnant exports of pepper beans to India, the second largestimporter of Vietnamese pepper. The Indian government has prohibited pepperimports to protect local farmers since the end of March.

In other markets, technicalstandards and high quality requirement for products have been billed as majorbarriers for exports.


According to Vietnamesetrade counsellor in the EU and Belgium Nguyen Canh Cuong, foreign expertsshould be invited to help local businesses improve technical standards. 

At the 2018 Trade CounsellorConference held in Ho Chi Minh City in the beginning of the year, Cuonghighlighted that the experts have huge impact on the behaviours of theconsumers in their countries and will serve as effective “media ambassadors”for the Vietnamese goods.

Meanwhile, Hoe believed thatbesides negative influence, protectionism sets better standards for quality andfood safety and hygiene. Thus, it is a must for Vietnamese to enhance foodsafety measures and improve quality to overcome technical barriers.

Le Nguyen Hoa, Vice Chairmanof NutiFood JSC, said that studies of market taste and investment in productionchains are crucial for any business that wants to gain a foothold overseas.

Trung recommended Vietnameseexporters study trade policies in foreign markets and create good relationswith their partners to forecast trade risks.

“Petitions will leavesignificant losses for both businesses and the whole sector. Thus, enterprisesshould join hands to take advantage of market opportunities and have timelyresponse to trade breakdowns”, Trung noted.


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