Raising quality of agricultural exports to Canada

16:10 | 14/12/2016 Trade

(VEN) - Canada has become the world’s sixth biggest importer of agricultural products and foodstuffs. It imports an extensive range of goods from more than 190 countries and territories including Vietnam. Vietnamese businesses mainly export seafood products to Canada. They are recommended to focus on food safety and hygiene regulations issued by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).  

raising quality of agricultural exports to canada
Technical cooperation workshop on Canadian food safety system and compliance promotion for exports to Canada, Hanoi, November 3

Food safety control

A technical cooperation workshop on Canadian food safety system and compliance promotion for exports to Canada was sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) on November 3, in collaboration with the Canadian Embassy in Vietnam. Rolf Schoenert - Deputy Director of CFIA’s Trade Policy Division said at the seminar that Canada is the world’s sixth biggest importer of agricultural products and foodstuffs. It imports an extensive range of goods from more than 190 countries and territories including Vietnam. Controlling almost 3,000 trade exchanges worth about US$1 billion per month, CFIA has been launching a lot of strict regulations featuring different levels of food safety inspection. Therefore, Vietnamese businesses need to strictly follow CFIA’s food safety regulations, apart from enhancing their comprehensive competitiveness if they are to succeed and expand their markets in Canada.

According to Rolf Schoenert, Canada is modernizing its legal framework, including changing of laws and regulations in compliance with actual demands of food production and consumption. Particularly, for fishery products from Vietnam, CFIA will conduct inspections of veterinary drug residues in the product. This seminar is an opportunity for enterprises to learn more about Canada’s current regulations.

CFIA no longer documents in detail what Vietnamese businesses must do but launches specific standards and barriers for businesses to pass, according to Rolf Schonert.

Thus, Vietnamese exporters and distributors need to work with Canadian importers to learn about Canada’s specific requirements related to product ingredients and labeling, food additives, pesticide and antibiotic residues, among others.

Food safety - a top priority

Canadian Ambassador to Vietnam Ping Kitnikone said that CFIA considers cooperation in food safety assurance with Vietnam important, as an increasing number of Vietnamese items are to be exported to Canada. Through supporting Canada’s trade partners like Vietnam to improve export food safety control, CFIA is working to improve and ensure food safety for Canadian consumers.

According to Ping Kitnikone, food safety is a top priority of the Canadian government. The exchange of information about food safety control and discussions on ways to improve Vietnamese businesses’ observance of Canada’s import regulations is a very efficient way. It is contributed to a long-term relation with Vietnam in food safety, creating more favorable conditions for bilateral trade.

Talking to the Vietnam Economic News on the sidelines of the seminar, Nguyen Nhu Tiep - Head of the National Agro - Forestry - Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (NAFIQAD) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said that in recent years, bilateral trade in agricultural, forest and fishery products is not commensurate with the potential. More Vietnamese enterprises want to access and expand markets in Canada. However, businesses need to understand Canada’s import regulations to be able to enter the market. Recently, a number of Vietnamese seafood shipments were warned of antibiotic and allergen residues, which is a good example for Vietnamese companies to pay more attention to importing countries’ regulations.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam confirmed that Canada is a world leading country in food safety control systems, and Canada recently provided significant supports for Vietnam in this field. In the future, when Vietnam and Canada become members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), this membership will provide a huge opportunity for strengthening bilateral trade and investment cooperation.

Canadian Ambassador to Vietnam Ping Kitnikone said that Canada imported a lot of agricultural, forestry and fishery

products from Vietnam. Fish and other fishery products are Vietnam’s key exports to Canada. Vietnam’s seafood exports to

Canada doubled over the past five years.

Nguyen Hanh