The catfish inspection programme stated in the US ’s 2014 Farm Bill should abide by the country’s international commitments and not create trade barriers.

The Vietnamese Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Le Hai Binh made the statement on February 20 while answering reporters’ queries on Vietnam ’s response to the US ’s adoption of the bill, which stipulates the inspection of catfish as well as packaging and exporting activities.

“We fear that new regulations in the bill may exert negative impacts on Vietnam ’s aquaculture and fish processing industry, and affect US consumers,” he said.

According to the spokesperson, Vietnam has always strictly controlled its aquaculture and fish processing, and widely applied the highest international standards, including the US’s Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP).

Vietnam has also ensured food hygiene and safety along with protecting the environment, he said, noting that Vietnamese tra and basa fish have won the favour of consumers across the world.

On February 4, the US Senate gave final congressional approval to a five-year farm bill, under which the inspection of catfish, including Vietnamese tra and basa fish, will be moved out of the remit of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and into the Department of Agriculture.

Accordingly, Vietnamese catfish exporters trading with the US must fulfil all requirements set for local products from production to packaging and exporting.-VNA