Vietnamese agricultural product and seafood exporters will have more chances to expand their market as they well form regulations in the sanitary and phytosanitary systems (SPS) of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

Director General Tran Trung Thuc, head of the Vietnamese EFTA negotiating team was speaking at a seminar to introduce the SPS jointly held by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Ho Chi Minh City on October 3.

According to Thuc, the EFTA is another trade area for non-EU countries in Europe, including Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

This is a dynamic economic bloc with Switzerland and Norway being potential markets for Vietnam’s exports, he said.

In 2009, leaders of Vietnam and the EFTA agreed to raise their economic ties by launching negotiations of a bilateral free trade agreement. The two sides have conducted five rounds of negotiation of the agreement, which covers trade in goods and services, investment and other issues of mutual concern.

To expand export market, apart from negotiations on tariff reductions, those relating to the SPS play an important role in facilitating the exports of Vietnamese agricultural products and seafood in the EFTA in particular and European countries in general, Thuc said.

Deputy Ambassador of the Norwegian Embassy Larissa Falkenberg Kosanovic said SPS measures are to ensure safe animal and plant products and protect consumer health.

The EFTA has signed FTAs with 36 countries and this is a good chance for Vietnam to expand its market, she added.-VNA