The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has worked with Vietnamese trade counsellors in 70 countries to seek measures to improve the export of agricultural products on February 8.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said 2018 would play an important role in the plan to improve the sector from 2016 to 2020. The goal is to boost the contribution of agriculture sector in the GDP growth rate to 3% and the export turnover to USD40bn this year.
Agricultural exports must develop to become a stable pillar for the economy and it is important to expand sales into other markets, especially to developed countries, and avoid situations when the farmers have big crops but the prices are low such as experienced in recent years.
According to the counsellors, if Vietnam wants to export to Australia, Japan or the US, it will also need to give import permits to some of their products and the country would need to research carefully to ensure effective negotiations.
Cuong said most countries have policies to protect their locally-made products, even in the US or Japan. It will take five to seven years and lots of difficulties to negotiate export deals. Competition is also getting tougher along with the requirements from the import markets. Meanwhile, difficulties in exporting to the Middle East and Africa come from differences in trade methods.
Pham Duc Minh, the counsellor in Japan, said the transportation costs were still too high, limiting Vietnam’s competitive edge. Japan has high demand for fruit, poultry and eggs but its requirements are also high.
Nguyen Hoang Thuy, the counsellor in Australia, said it took 12 years before Vietnam could export litchi to Australia while Vietnam imported 38 types of fruits without such high requirements. Thuy suggested that Vietnam should be more careful when negotiating and exchange exports for imports. The government should also notify the counsellors to strengthen information exchanges with Australia.
The counsellors also commented on the lack of promotion for Vietnam’s agricultural products. Pham Duc Minh wanted more funds for promotion in Japan and to find more outlets. Minh was asked to help export eggs to Japan and improve the quality of fruits to Japanese standards.
Exporting shrimps to Australia is important as it will help Vietnam prove the quality of its shrimp and open doors to other markets. Thuy was asked to help boost exchanges with Australian authorities. Other counsellors were also asked to advise on improving the use of technology and promote exports.
The counsellors must work closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to know about the latest policies, tariffs and technical barriers as well as market information. They must also help deal with trade disputes and monitor the implementation of treaties on scientific and technological co-operation in agriculture. They will be the bridge connecting international agencies with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Industry and Trade.
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