The representative from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (C) speak at the meeting (Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNA)
– The Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) held a meeting in Ho Chi Minh City on March 14 to help Japanese enterprises solve difficulties and challenges facing them in food import-export and business activities in Vietnam.

Nakagawa Motohisa from JETRO said Vietnam has made strides in reforming and reducing administrative procedures, creating favourable conditions for foreign investors.

For Japan’s food firms, meetings and dialogues with Vietnamese offices have helped deal with difficulties.

Specifically, the taking of samples of products weighing below 5kg, used in product introduction programmes or for research purpose, has halted, while examinations to grant food hygiene and safety-related certificates to traders and shop-assistants have been held more regularly, he stated.

However, Japanese firms held that there remain many things which need to be tackled, including product declaration procedures, specialised examination processes and plant and animal quarantine.

They said testing product compositions is essential to ensure food safety. However, Vietnamese offices should make a list of substances that are subject to tests.

Le Van Giang, deputy head of the Food Safety Agency under the Health Ministry, stated that per a decree that became effective on February 2, 2018, besides health protection products, food used in medicine and for children aged below 36 months, and food additives, enterprises can declare products on their websites and send a copy of the declaration to a management agency, and then sell these products.

Japanese enterprises also expressed their hope that Vietnam will consider reducing the frequency of and time needed for sample tests, which is currently seven days for meat and four days for vegetables and fruits.

Leaders from Vietnam’s ministries and sectors affirmed that Vietnam’s authorised offices will only strengthen inspections over imported goods when receiving warnings from export countries and international organisations.

Vietnam also committed to creating favourable conditions for Japanese enterprises to boost bilateral economic and trade ties.-VNA