[2 August 2019] — The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) not only opens the door wide for Vietnam's agro-forestry-aquaculture exports, but also promotes the country's agricultural sector to improve its competitiveness, according to experts.
To take advantage of opportunities to serve sustainable development, Vietnam's agricultural sector needs to take measures to cope with challenges, they noted.
According to Nguyen Son Tra from the Multilateral Trade Policy Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the EVFTA is especially significant for Vietnam's agricultural export sector because in most of the FTAs that the country has signed, agricultural and fishery products are always considered sensitive and Vietnam’s partners are very prudent when opening their door.
Dang Phuc Nguyen, Secretary General of the Vietnam Fruit & Vegetable Association (Vinafruit), said Vietnam’s vegetable and fruit exports to the EU have increased steadily over the past few years, but it only accounts for about 3 percent of the country’s total export turnover of vegetables and fruits.
Nguyen said the two difficulties facing Vietnamese vegetables and fruits in the European market are high import taxes and strict technical standards, especially regulations of chemical residues.
Apart from increasing export turnover, the EVFTA will also create a driving force to attract foreign investment, especially from Europe, into Vietnam's agriculture, thus increasing the value of Vietnamese farm produce in a sustainable way.
Nguyen said in order to conquer the EU market, Vietnamese farmers and agricultural enterprises need to improve the quality of farm produce, through building material areas and strictly controlling farms under clean and safe production processes.
Attention should be paid to luring investment into technology application and processing and deep-processing equipment to increase the value and competitiveness for products.
For a large and diverse market with constant change of consumption trend like the EU, Vietnamese businesses must focus on building brands and developing new products with high added value.
Experts emphasized that, with the EVFTA in particular and the new generation FTAs in general, Vietnamese firms should actively seek cooperation opportunities with foreign partners, participate in chains of large-scale production and supply links - VNA.