Canada still imports a variety of aquatic products from Vietnam, especially black tiger shrimps.(Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNS/VNA) - Although Canada is a major producer of seafood, it still imports a variety of aquatic products from Vietnam, especially black tiger shrimps.

According to Vietnam’s General Department of Customs, last year, Vietnam’s seafood export turnover to Canada reached more than 183 million USD. This was the highest figure for agricultural products exported to the Canadian market.

In the first 10 months of this year, seafood exports to Canada have leapt significantly. Turnover so far is more than 186 million USD.

Nguyen Nhu Tiep, director of the National Agro-Forestry Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (NAFIQAD), said Canada had one of the strictest import regulations for farm products, especially seafood.

However, as it is a high value market, learning to comply with the system gives Vietnam an advantage when selling to other countries.

In terms of seafood, Tiep said Vietnamese shrimp products had the biggest sales opportunity in Canada because demand was quite large.

The standard of many shrimp raising and processing enterprises in Vietnam now meets the requirements of Canada. However, the same is not true for farming in general.

In particular, Canada has shifted to management from the bottom up. Therefore, not only processing enterprises must be inspected, but also raw material areas must be assessed by Canadian authorities visiting Vietnam to approve export licences.

To promote Vietnam shrimp exports, Canada recently backed a 15 million USD technical assistance project to help businesses and farmers control food safety.

Nguyen Duc Hoa, Vietnamese Ambassador to Canada, said Canada is a country with favourable natural conditions for agriculture and the world’s leading agricultural technology. Therefore, there is optimism that Vietnamese businesses will soon be allowed to directly invest in Canada’s agricultural production.

At present, a number of Vietnamese enterprises are visiting Canada to lease agricultural land. In addition, Canadian firms are interested in Vietnam’s agriculture, including its adaptation to climate change.

The biggest problem with the Canadian market is that information and two-way understanding between Vietnamese and Canadian companies is still limited, according to Hoa.

Hoa suggested the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development should organise trips for delegations from Vietnam to meet Canadian enterprises to seek specific cooperation opportunities.-VNA