|Enterprises still have many opportunities to promote exports to the markets of countries in the CPTPP. Photo: Nguyen Thanh|
Exports to Chile and Peru increased sharply
Seafood is one of the industries that makes good use of the CPTPP to promote exports.
According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), 10 member markets in the CPTPP bloc currently account for over 25% of Vietnam’s total seafood export turnover.
Many CPTPP member countries are major seafood export markets of Vietnam such as Japan, Canada, Australia and Mexico. In particular, Japan has always held the “top 3” position in Vietnam’s seafood export market for many years. In fact, since 2008, Japan has signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Vietnam. However, the use of rules of origin to take advantage of export tariff preferences to this market has not been implemented. After the CPTPP took effect, exports to the Japanese market had more motivation and advantages to increase.
Le Hang, Deputy Director of VASEP.PRO Center (VASEP), said that in the past three years, it is very remarkable that exports to some markets in the CPTPP bloc have had a very strong breakthrough, typically Canada, Australia, Chile, and Peru.
In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic caused a decrease in Vietnam’s seafood exports to most markets, especially large markets, then exports to Canada, Chile, Peru, and Australia all recorded positive growth, in which, exports to Australia increased by 9%, to Canada by 14%, to Chile by 14% and to Peru by 8%.
In 2021, seafood exports to Australia will increase by 17%, to Canada by 15%, to Mexico by 54%.
From a product perspective, the CPTPP is currently Vietnam’s second largest shrimp export market. “These results clearly show the positive impact of the CPTPP on seafood exports to countries that have an FTA with Vietnam for the first time,” said Hang.
Tran Thanh Hai, Deputy Director of the Import-Export Department (Ministry of Industry and Trade), acknowledged that, since the CPTTP came into effect, export turnover is very impressive.
“In contrast to the EU region, which is a relatively traditional export market of Vietnam, the CPTPP region, especially those on the American side such as Canada, Mexico, and Peru are relatively new markets. The time before the CPTPP took effect was still modest. However, after the CPTPP, Vietnam’s exports to these markets have increased significantly. This reflects that businesses have gradually grasped and can make good use of opportunities from new-generation FTAs,” said Tran Thanh Hai.
Satisfying rules of origin
FTAs, especially new-generation FTAs like the CPTPP, are expected to continue to open up tariff preferences, boosting Vietnam’s exports. However, in taking advantage of the CPTPP, there are still many challenges.
Economic expert Phan Duc Hieu, a member of the National Assembly’s Economic Committee, said: “Recently, although the Ministry of Industry and Trade and associations have propagated information about FTAs, enterprises’ awareness of FTAs is still limited. A survey published in 2021 on the CPTPP shows that up to 69% of enterprises have heard of or had preliminary knowledge of the CPTPP, 25% of enterprises had certain knowledge about the CPTPP. Having a certain understanding can be understood that from the opportunity to practice, from awareness to action is still very challenging.”
Focusing on in-depth analysis of meeting the rules of origin in the CPTPP in the past three years, Nguyen Cam Trang, Deputy Director of the Import-Export Department said, the CPTPP’s rules of origin to enjoy tariff preferences are complicated and different from other FTAs, requiring enterprises to learn and adjust production. Therefore, in recent times, Vietnamese enterprises have not caught up quickly. The support of the authorities has not yet achieved the desired effect. In addition, the “domestic law” regulation of the CPTPP is still slow, affecting enterprises’ opportunities to participate in the market.
“The rate of using Certificates of Origin (C/O) in Vietnam’s exports to the markets of countries participating in the CPTPP is not high, because enterprises have not been able to proactively source raw materials to make products to meet regulations of origin to benefit from preferential tariffs. Typically, textiles, leather and footwear are limited in supporting industries. Agricultural products and fishery products have improved in quality and food safety, but they are not uniform and do not meet the standards set by the importing country,” said Nguyen Cam Trang.
In order to improve the efficiency of taking advantage of the CPTPP, to help Vietnamese goods penetrate better into the market, Nguyen Cam Trang proposed to review relevant documents, creating a favorable environment for businesses; strengthen communication and market trade promotion, orient enterprises in production and business plans, and help enterprises improve their competitiveness.
Businesses need to be more proactive in exploring opportunities and commitments in the CPTPP, meeting regulations on rules of origin, and constantly improving the quality of products and goods, especially agricultural and aquatic products. Improving competitiveness, starting to invest in the competitiveness of products is not only a regular job but also the “key” for businesses to seize opportunities from the integration process.
According to Le Anh Duong, Head of the General Research Department, Central Institute for Economic Management, unlike many other FTAs, the CPTPP includes areas of very strong commitment in terms of e-commerce, customs, and other technical barriers.
Vietnam joins the CPTPP according to the assessment that the most benefits are the benefits of institutional reform. Therefore, in the long-term with the implementation of the CPTPP, it is necessary to convert the pressures from the CPTPP into the institutional reform process.