Exporters urged to improve quality, follow rules of origin under UKVFTA hinh anh 1Speakers at the seminar on how to boost exports to the UK under the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement in HCM City on January 28. (Photo: VNA)
HCM City (VNS/VNA) - Vietnamese firms must improve product quality, strictly follow the rules of origin and ensure food safety to export goods to the UK under the recently signed UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, speakers said at a seminar in Ho Chi Minh City on January 28.

Pham Binh An, Director of the HCM City International Integration Support Centre, said that under the UKVFTA, Vietnam would greatly benefit when exporting to the UK due to commitments to market opening and quotas for some of the country’s most competitive exports like agricultural and aquatic products.

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the UK’s demand for agricultural products, food, electronic products, personal protective equipment, and laboratory equipment has been increasing, and the trade deal will offer Vietnam the opportunity to export such products.

The UK market, however, is highly demanding about standards and quality requirements on imported products, forcing Vietnam to improve product quality and ensure consistency of products to conquer the choosy market.

The trade deal will also cause competitive pressure on the domestic economy, especially in sectors and industries in which the UK has strength such as financial services, pharmaceuticals and chemical industries.

Vu Viet Thanh, Director of the Europe and North America Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), said that Vietnam exports phones and components, garments, footwear, fishery, wood and wooden products, computers and parts, cashews, coffee and pepper to the UK. It imports machinery, equipment, pharmaceuticals, steel and chemicals from the UK. 

Trinh Thi Thu Hien, head of the Product Origin of the MoIT’s Agency of Foreign Trade, urged Vietnamese exporters to enhance competitiveness of products, improve production and business capacity, and apply science-technology to increase value of their products. 

They must also enhance supervision over the use of antibiotics in processing, and ensure food safety to meet requirements of the importers.

In addition, Vietnam must adhere to the Rules of Origin (RO) when exporting to the UK, especially because traceability regulations in the country have become increasingly strict.

Recently, the first 60 tonnes of jasmine rice were shipped to the UK under the UKVFTA.

Nguyen Son Tra, head of the WTO and trade negotiation division at the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s multilateral trade policy department, said the trade pact took effect on December 31, 2020.

It was negotiated based on commitments made under the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) with necessary adjustments to ensure it conforms with the Vietnam-UK bilateral trade framework.

Under the UKVFTA, the UK has eliminated 65 percent of tariffs and will increase it to 99 percent within seven years. Vietnam has removed 48.5 percent of tariffs, and this will rise to 92 or 98 percent after six years. 

As the trade deal inherits the EVFTA, it is set to create a comprehensive, long-term and stable economic and trade co-operation framework between the two countries, according to Tra.

The UK is the third largest trade partner of Vietnam in Europe.

According to the Vietnamese General Department of Customs, bilateral trade reached 6.6 billion USD in 2019, in which Vietnam’s exports to the UK accounted for nearly 88 percent.

The two countries saw an average annual growth of 12.1 percent in import-export revenue during the 2011-2019 period, higher than Vietnam’s average level of 10 percent./.