Exports of textiles and garments, footwear and seafood could fall as technical barriers set by importing countries will come into effect next year.

Le Quoc An, chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas), said the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which would take effect in February would require that all garments and textiles exported to the US meet new standards, with higher demands for quality and safety.

With such requirements, it will be more difficult for domestic companies to export products to the US .

Diep Thanh Kiet, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association, said the footwear sector would also be affected.

Exporters plan to spend more on material testing, but will find it difficult to incorporate these costs into new export contracts.

Vietnam does not have a laboratory eligible to conduct CPSIA tests, which would force exporters to use services at international testing organisations, which are more costly, An said.

Another regulation, the Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing rule set by the European Commission, will take effect in January and cause trade obstacles to exporters.

Under the regulation, exporters must show at least 12 certificates related to fishing boats, catching areas, fishing certificates and many others, for entry to the EU, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors.

Because exporters buy materials through many middlemen, this could pose serious obstacles, said Nguyen Xuan Nam , director of Hai Vuong Seafood Company in central Khanh Hoa province. It will also increase costs and reduce the competitiveness of the products.

Nguyen Van Hoa, general director of Sai Gon Fisheries Processing Company, said Vietnam’s many small-scale fisheries businesses faced challenges meeting these requirements.

Nguyen Thi Thu Sac, director of Hai Nam Seafood Co, said authorities should request that EU authorities delay application of IUU regulations for fishing boats under 90 CV.

Relevant agencies should strengthen instruction and training on IUU regulations for fishermen and companies, she added.

The EU is the nation’s largest seafood importer with 26 out of its 27 members importing products.

In 2008, Vietnam’s seafood volume shipped to the EU accounted for more than 40 percent of its total seafood exports volume and 25.4 percent of its total export turnover./.