Dissemination of the EVFTA to enterprises in cashew sector

11:33 | 21/08/2017 MUTRAP Corner

The European Union is becoming a potential market for Vietnam Cashew exporters. However, to enter this huge market, Vietnamese cashew kernels need to meet the EU’s requirements of quality. Moreover, after the Vietnam - EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) comes into effect, the export of Vietnam’s agro- forestry - fishery products, not excluding cashew kernels, to the EU market will be greatly affected.   

In this context, the comprehensive understanding of commitments in the EVFTA will help cashew enterprises to utilize preferential tariff and to enhance product quality, food safety and hygiene and sustainable development (green and environment - friendly agriculture).

In June 2017 in Ho Chi Minh city, under the sponsorship of the EU MUTRAP project, the Vietnam Cashew Association (VINACAS) organized a Consultation workshop aimed at supporting cashew exporters to the EU market.

According to Mr. Nguyen Duc Thanh, Chairman of VINACAS, total export value of Vietnam cashew kernels to the EU market in 2016 was approximately 94.1 thousand tones, export turnover reached US$765.56 million, contributing 26.9 percent in export share of the whole sector.

In 2017, VINACAS expects export to the EU market to reach about US$1 billion, accounting for 31 percent in total export turnover of the whole sector.

Speaking at the workshop, Mr. Phan Minh Tri, the Center for Agricultural Policy (Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agricultural and Rural Development - IPSARD), MARD, said the EU is currently the biggest import market of cashew, in which the Netherlands plays as the trading hub for cashew kernels, followed by Germany and Belgium. Among exporters of cashew kernels to the EU, Vietnam is the largest supplier providing/delivering 54.3 percent of cashew to the market.

However, the EU is a fastidious market with high standards of food quality and safety, environment protection.

Current statistics show that only 22/330 Vietnam cashew exporters meet ISO and HACCP standards (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points).

As recommended by Mr. Tran Van Hiep, Chief of Trade Promotion Section, VINACAS that enterprises should study carefully trading partners through trustworthy organizations such as Vietnam trade offices in foreign countries, Combined Edible Nut Trade Association (CENTA) in UK.

Additionally, they should be proactive in participating in trade fairs and exhibitions to improve their skills in dealing with unexpected incidents relating to product quality, protecting businesses’ reputation. At the workshop, enterprises also shared their experiences and challenges when exporting cashew kernels to the EU market.