Processing shrimp for exports (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) -
Vietnam will attract more foreign direct investment and boost its agricultural and fisheries exports through free trade agreements, experts have said.

The recently signed Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) would help the country increase its agricultural and fisheries output, Pham Tuan Long, deputy director of the division of agriculture, forestry and fishery at the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s export-import department, said.

“With commitments under FTAs, import tariffs will be reduced or eliminated in various markets, creating favorable conditions for Vietnam’s exports,” he told a workshop held in Ho Chi Minh City on August 7.

Vietnam is a leading producer and exporter of a variety of agricultural products, including rice, coffee, pepper, cashew and fish, he said.

Last year exports of its main agricultural products were worth US$27 billion, or nearly 11 percent of total exports.

Vietnam exports goods to more than 200 markets.

In the first half of this year, agricultural exports were worth 12.3 billion USD, with fisheries, fruits and vegetables, coffee, cashew, rice, and pepper exports each fetching more than 1 billion USD.

However, with technical barriers and strict requirements with regard to food safety and hygiene standards, Vietnam’s agricultural products face many challenges since agriculture is mostly done on a small scale.

The trade ministry has coordinated with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to update local businesses on technical barriers and trade protection measures in import countries, he said.

Pham Thiet Hoa, director of the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre of HCM City, said it is vital that local firms invest heavily in modern facilities and technology and carefully manage quality and food safety in both the farming and processing stages to fulfil the export potential.

But they need to be offered incentives to enhance capacity, develop brands and update themselves on export markets and market surveys, he said.  

The workshop titled “Opportunities to access potential export markets for food and foodstuff sector” was held on the sidelines of the VietFood, Beverage and Professional Packing Machines international exhibition taken place in HCM City from August 7 to 10.-VNS/VNA