Pact with EU holds promise

Friday, Nov 04, 2016 09:01

Tra fish is processed for export at the Hung Ca Company Limited in Dong Thap Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Vu Sinh
HA NOI (Biz Hub) — The Viet Nam and EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) offers tremendous opportunities for both Vietnamese and European producers to find growing markets for higher quality products, said EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan at a seminar held in Ha Noi on November 3.

Hogan also said that European authorities and businesses would offer support for Vietnamese producers in placing emphasis on safety and quality in production methods.

"This would apply to the final product as well as the production process itself, and the welfare of farm animals and workers, the soil and the environment, so that Vietnamese products could meet EU's stringent requirements in environmental protection, the use of pesticides and veterinary drugs," said Hogan.

The recently signed agreement is a high-level and comprehensive agreement ensuring a balance of interests for both sides in terms of trade, customs practice and facilitation, food safety and animal quarantine regulations, intellectual property, investment, stable development, and more.

On his visit to Viet Nam, Hogan also met with senior officials, including Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to discuss links with the EU in the agriculture and food trade sector, based on EVFTA.

Viet Nam currently requires technological support from the EU in various areas, from equipment to personnel training, in order to inspect and develop agricultural products on a par with strict European import standards. Viet Nam needs experience and aid from European agencies that have an established system from production to packaging and distribution.

According to Phung Huu Hao, Deputy Director General of the National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, EVFTA will be a needed boost for agricultural trade relations between Viet Nam and European nations.

The agreement negotiation process concluded on December 2, 2015. An official signing ceremony has yet to take place, though the necessary procedures have been undertaken for it to go into effect in early 2018.

As of now, the remaining concern for Vietnamese exporters to European markets stems from uncertainty about the origin of products, competitiveness and legal procedures.

The EU is one of Viet Nam's top trade and investment partners. According to the Department of Statistics, Viet Nam has enjoyed significant growth in the EU market in recent years, as evidenced by Viet Nam's 20 billion euro trade surplus with the EU in 2015, owing in large to the agriculture and food sectors. — VNS

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