Harvesting durian fruits (Source: VNA)
 
Hanoi (VNA) – Though Vietnam is strong in producing and exporting agricultural products, it is facing a range of challenges and barriers in Europe due to new stringent food safety regulations.

Tran Ngoc Quan, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Department of European–American Markets, said once the European Union (EU)-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) takes effect, tariffs on Vietnamese farm produce will plunge to 0-5 percent over the next decade.

Vietnam is one of the important suppliers of farm produce to the EU, ranking 12th among all exporting nations and meeting 2.2 percent of the demand, above Thailand, New Zealand, Malaysia and Canada.

However, the EU has paid due attention to food value, quality, safety and hygiene and has issued stringent regulations on antibiotics, pesticides and tracing product origin.

A representative from the Vietnam Trade Office in the EU said the bloc will enhance inspections and is drafting new regulations on quality standards for pepper and spices.

Quan said thanks to economic recovery in several EU member states and increasing consumption demand, key products such as aquatic products, cashew nuts, fruits and vegetables, coffee and rubber maintained high export growth.

He suggested closely monitoring manufacturing process and making origin of products transparent.

Tran Huu Huynh, Director of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Legal Department and Secretary General of the Vietnam International Arbitration Centre, proposed the State issue an early warning system to help exporters access market information while agencies should offer proper policies, mechanisms and planning so agricultural firms and farmers can fully tap their production capacity.-VNA