There are more opportunities for Vietnamese agricultural products to come to the UK

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The presence of some special fruits in Vietnam, such as oranges and pomelos, in the UK market for the first time shows the great progress of enterprises producing and exporting agricultural products. Photo: ST
The presence of some special fruits in Vietnam, such as oranges and pomelos, in the UK market for the first time shows the great progress of enterprises producing and exporting agricultural products. Photo: ST

Many advantages thanks to UKVFTA

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, without the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA), Vietnam’s exports to the UK will hardly have the same growth rate as in the past years. According to the commitment that after six years, UKVFTA takes effect, the UK will eliminate import tax on 99.2% of tariff lines, equivalent to 99.7% of Vietnam’s export turnover. This agreement has helped many Vietnamese agricultural products have a competitive advantage over similar products originating from countries that do not have FTAs with the UK. Along with that, the transformation of businesses’ thinking and increased technological capacity in production and trade also contributed to boosting the growth of Vietnam’s agricultural exports to this market.

Notably, the room to promote agricultural trade between the two countries is very large. According to statistics, Vietnam’s agricultural exports to the UK account for just over 1% of the total value of British food and food imports. In the opposite direction, British agricultural products in Vietnam account for less than 1% of the total import value of Vietnam’s agricultural, forestry and fishery products. This shows that the potential of the UK market is huge.

Recently, the UK has boosted the import of many agricultural products from Vietnam, including Dien pomelo, Tan Lac red pomelo and most recently, Cao Phong orange. To enter the UK market, Cao Phong orange products must meet strict standards of quality, food safety and origin. Initially, this fruit has received positive feedback from local consumers.

According to Mr Quach Van Ngoan, Chairman of Cao Phong District People’s Committee, after eight years of being granted a geographical indication protection certificate, Cao Phong orange products have affirmed their brand, quality and position in the domestic market. More importantly, after a period of effective cooperation between the Provincial Sub-Department of Cultivation and Plant Protection (Pesticide Protection) with specialized district agencies and units, enterprises are producing – trading orange products. As a result, Cao Phong had the opportunity to reach out to the world market. In the analysis samples of oranges conducted before export, it was found that all of them did not detect any active ingredients in the nearly 900 active pesticides required to be analyzed according to European standards. Sample packages sent to the UK market were also cleared without any problems with food safety (food safety) and origin.

The presence of some special fruits of Vietnam, such as oranges and pomelos, in the UK market for the first time shows the great progress of enterprises producing and exporting agricultural products. This is also the basis for our country’s manufacturing and exporting enterprises to develop appropriate strategies to bring many agricultural products to highly competitive markets.

Building a competitive advantage

During a working trip with the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs recently, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien proposed that the UK open for four of Vietnam’s main agricultural products, including typical and endemic products from tropical countries; products of animal origin; aquatic products and wood products.

Although the potential to export agricultural, forestry and fishery products to the UK market is great, at the same time, the UK is also a market with very high requirements on technical standards, food hygiene and safety for agricultural products, especially goods from developing countries. Therefore, to sustainably expand their market share in the UK, besides strong competitors from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Africa and India, Vietnamese enterprises will also face fair competition with enterprises of Vietnam. Therefore, Vietnamese enterprises can only access this market when they practice production according to Global GAP or Euro GAP and apply international management standards such as ISO, SA and ILO.

In addition, to penetrate deeper into the UK market, Vietnamese enterprises must be able to ensure a stable supply in both quantity and quality to develop sustainable cooperation with British partners. At the same time, besides businesses needing to take advantage of incentives from UKVFTA quickly, businesses also need to build a competitive advantage if their products meet the quality requirements of British standards and are suitable for British consumerism.

The UK is a country that is very concerned about labor and environmental issues, so businesses must be transparent in the production process, proactively preserve and transport technology, and make good use of preferential credit policies and credit assessment and verification services of British banks’ customers.

As for coffee, experts said the UK market is very competitive with imports from many countries. Therefore, to export coffee to the UK stably, Vietnam’s coffee industry needs to meet the increasingly strict requirements of this market. In addition, the product must be suitable for British consumer tastes.

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