Hanoi (VNA) – A virtual conference on trading in fruits and vegetables between Vietnam and the Netherlands was held on September 29 to match Vietnamese suppliers and potential Dutch importers, wholesalers and retailers.

The event was co-held by the Vietname Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade) and the Department of European and American Markets under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Vietnamese Embassy in the Netherlands and the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association in order to help Vietnamese producers take advantage of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) which took effect on August 1.

It was participated by 22 Vietnamese exporters of fruits and vegetables and 10 importers from the Netherlands.

Speaking at the event, Vietrade Director Vu Ba Phu highlighted the Netherlands as a gateway for Vietnamese fruits and vegetables to enter the EU market and the global market at large. Meanwhile, Vietnam is Asia’s fifth largest producer of fruits and vegetables with its products available in more than 60 countries worldwide, he said.

The EVFTA will bring many opportunities for enterprises of both Vietnam and the Netherlands, he added, noting that Vietnam has mainly exported pineapple, dragon fruits, coconut, mango and rambutan to the EU countries.

The EU market accounted for about half of the world’s imports of fruits and vegetables, Phu continued, though it is very promising, it is a demanding market with strict requirements in terms of technical barriers and pesticide residue among others.

Therefore, it is mandatory for Vietnamese exporters to pursue safe production applying Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), he said.

Data from the Ministry of Industry and Trade revealed that Vietnam’s shipments of fruits and vegetables to the EU stood at 2.26 billion USD in the first eight months of this year, a decrease of 11.3 percent from a year earlier, due to COVID-19./.