Vietnam fishing for FTA opportunities, gearing up for challenges

09:01 | 28/11/2019 Trade

(VEN) - Vietnam’s agricultural sector is gearing up to prepare for the major changes expected with the entry into force of two unique, new-generation trade agreements - the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

vietnam fishing for fta opportunities gearing up for challenges

Participants of the fourth National Farmers Forum that took place on October 11 in Hanoi discussed how Vietnamese agriculture can take advantage of the promising opportunities and overcome challenges.

Barriers

Economists say participation in FTAs not only creates advantages but also poses increasingly tough technical barriers for Vietnamese farm produce in foreign markets, including those related to Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) regulations, Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and environmental and labor-related regulations, among others.

Luong Hoang Thai, Director General of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Multilateral Trade Policy Department said Vietnam constantly seeks to lift as many barriers as possible for its exports. For example, already during negotiations on foreign trade agreements, the ministry tries to get foreign authorities to minimize barriers to Tra and Basa fish, which have competitive advantages. According to the EVFTA, the tariff on Vietnamese Tra and Ba Sa fish will be zeroed out over the next eight years, Thai said.

FTAs are necessary for Vietnamese farmers to develop their businesses in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0, Thai said.

Blockchain

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said that apart from helping Vietnam expand markets and transform its export structure, FTAs help the country ensure a stable business and legal environment by realizing commitments to market opening and state management improvement. FTAs, including CPTPP and EVFTA, will certainly open up a new stage of cooperation that is expected to benefit citizens and businesses and give an impetus to Vietnam’s agricultural sector and its partners, Hai said.

Provision of information related to CPTPP and EVFTA agreements for agricultural businesses is crucial to help them and related parties build and expand farm produce export markets, the Deputy Minister said.

Regarding agricultural exports, former Minister of Trade Truong Dinh Tuyen said traceability is most important, and it is necessary to guide farmers in applying blockchain to production.

Director General of the Multilateral Trade Policy Department Luong Hoang Thai said foreign countries require the use of blockchain for traceability. If Vietnamese businesses meet traceability requirements, they will be able to increase farm produce exports, Thai said.

CPTPP and EVFTA are expected to open up great opportunities for Vietnamese farm produce, forest products and

fisheries in 37 foreign markets with a combined population of more than one billion.

Nguyen Hanh