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Food safety is the first priority
Speaking at the online conference on exporting Vietnamese fruits and vegetables to the EU market on the afternoon of October 26, 2021, Nguyen Dinh Tung, Chairman of Vina T&T Group, said the EU is an acceptable market, allowing all Vietnamese fruits and vegetables to be exported without going through negotiations. This is completely different from the US or Australia.
This market also does not have a quarantine representative in Vietnam to check the shipment before exporting. This is quite difficult for businesses because the technical barriers of the EU market are very strict. Vietnamese enterprises have to pay quite high prices when entering the EU market.
“When entering the EU market, food safety and hygiene must come first, enterprises must know the law. Each type of fruit has its own law, for example, grapefruit must have a growing area code. When exporting any kind of fruit, businesses also need to study very carefully so as not to violate the law,” said Tung.
Mr. Nguyen Trung Kien, Vietnamese Ambassador to Austria, said that food safety and environmental protection are issues that the EU people are increasingly paying attention to and demanding. If vegetables and fruits do not ensure this, they will not be able to be exported to Europe.
“Meanwhile, growing areas in Vietnam such as Bac Ninh and Bac Giang are facing great challenges in food preservation. In Vietnam, the basic issue is pesticides. The use of non-chemical methods of crop protection and insect control is a long-term issue that needs to be promoted more soon,” said Mr. Kien.
At the conference, Ngo Tuong Vy, Deputy Director of Chanh Thu Fruit Import-Export Co., Ltd spoke about his business.
For the European market, recently, the communication for Vietnam’s fresh fruit is quite good. However, Vietnam’s fresh fruit products still have certain limitations, especially in post-harvest preservation.
During the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, Chanh Thu switched to promoting the consumption of processed frozen products, achieving unexpected success, especially durian products.
“Our products in Australia are constantly sold out. Notably, Vietnam’s frozen Ri6 durian product is really trusted and appreciated by both the Chinese in Australia and the Australians,” Vy said.
Many businesses still think that fresh products achieve high value. However, through exporting frozen durians to Australia recently, the enterprise wishes to approach and promote exports of frozen products to the EU.
“Enterprises want to cooperate and support more with deep-processed products,” said Vy.
Increase promotion, solve logistics difficulties
Besides food safety, in order to promote the export of fruits and vegetables to the EU, strengthening the promotion and trade promotion stage as well as solving difficulties in logistics are seen as key issues.
Nguyen Thi Bich Hue, Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy, said that Italy is a fairly large fruit import market, but Vietnam’s proportion currently accounts for only about 1%.
In order to export fruit to Italy and to the EU market in general, there is still a lot of work to do. One is the need for the coordination of ministries and sectors such as the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, localities and businesses to participate in the major fruit fairs in the EU, access the promotion of vegetables and fruits.
“Thousands of importers and exporters will be present at major fairs. There are even big fairs that organize activities such as avocado day and mango day. If we can contact to have a Vietnamese lychee day at fairs, that’s a very good thing,” said Hue.
The Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy also said there is the need to overcome difficulties in logistics because currently, transporting fruit from Vietnam to the EU is not easy.
Thai Xuan Dung, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Czech Republic, said that logistics costs are accounting for a high proportion of the cost of fruit and vegetable products exported to the Czech market in particular as well as the EU in general, so we need to find ways to reduce costs.
“Besides, processed fruits and vegetables will bring higher added value, we need to invest in technology and equipment, improve the competitiveness of products, make good use of tariff incentives from the EVFTA.”