The newly-inked Vietnam-Korea free trade agreement (VKFTA) will be a significant boost for Vietnamese aquaculture products, especially shrimp, cuttlefish and octopus, favourites in the Republic of Korea market.

Accordingly, the RoK pledged to provide tax-exemptions for up to 15,000 tonnes of shrimp per year. The commitment also includes the reduction of non-tariff barriers and technical requests which can be more complicated and difficult than taxes for enterprises, according to Hai Quan (Customs) online.

The RoK also promised to cut 95.4 percent of tariff lines levied on Vietnamese aquaculture and industrial products, amounting to 5 percent less tariff lines than those applied to commodities from Vietnam’s competitors such as China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

The move will help increase Vietnamese product competitiveness while greatly augmenting their penetration into the RoK.

In the first quarter of this year, the RoK ranked fifth in Vietnam’s crucial aquaculture export markets with a total revenue of 119.6 million USD. The Southeast Asian country is currently the largest shrimp supplier of the RoK, accounting for 46 percent of the RoK’s import value.

Meanwhile, the RoK is a leading market for Vietnamese cuttlefish and octopus. In the first three months of this year, Vietnam raked in 35.8 million USD from cuttlefish and octopus exports. Rising demands of frozen and dried octopus in the RoK will also create opportunities for Vietnamese enterprises in the market.

With preferential taxes and transparency in technical barriers, the VKFTA will widen opportunities for Vietnamese aquaculture exports to the RoK. However, stern food safety standards will force Vietnamese businesses to control antibiotic use and renew business activities for more efficient operations.-VNA