Vietnam’s Milky Way: China okays Vietnamese dairy imports

09:03 | 10/02/2020 Companies

(VEN) - Vietnamese dairy products were officially exported in 2019 for the first time to China - the world’s second largest dairy consumer (after the US), following efficient efforts by the government, industry and farmers.

china okays vietnamese dairy imports


TH Milk Joint Stock Company (TH Milk) of the TH Group has become the first Vietnamese firm to receive approval from the General Administration of Customs of China to export dairy products to China. According to the Vietnamese Embassy in China, China has granted transaction codes to TH Milk’s sterilized and modified milk products. The Chinese General Administration of Customs will continue considering applications from other Vietnamese companies, said the embassy.

The embassy explained that the Vietnamese exports must meet the requirements of China’s Food Safety Law and the Law on Animal and Plant Quarantine, the protocol between the two countries, and other regulations concerning the supervision, quarantine and import and export of dairy products.

Vietnam began preparing for exporting dairy products to China in 2013. It took almost six years to accomplish risk assessment dossiers, and on April 26, 2019, the Vietnamese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Director of China’s General Department of Customs signed a protocol on veterinary and public health requirements for dairy imports from Vietnam. Six months after this important event, China granted transaction codes to TH Milk’s sterilized and modified milk products.

Agricultural expert Hoang Trong Thuy says China’s licensing of Vietnamese milk products through official trade is of great significance, paving the way for agricultural products from different Vietnamese localities to join farm produce chains.

Le Thanh Hoa, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Agro Processing and Market Development Authority said China has applied strict labeling, origin traceability and food safety and hygiene regulations while restricting border trade. The penetration of Vietnamese dairy products into China proves that Vietnam’s dairy sector is growing and integrating into the global dairy industry. Vietnamese dairy enterprises have built central farms, applied advanced production and management technology, and their products meet strict standards. One Vietnamese dairy product reaching China through official trade will open up opportunities for other Vietnamese milk products to access China and even other foreign markets, Hoa said.

Development opportunities

With a population of more than 1.4 billion, China has become a world leading dairy importer and consumer, importing products worth almost US$10 billion in 2018. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), China’s demand for milk products will continue to increase, about 45 percent until 2025. Economists say the fact that a Vietnamese enterprise licensed to export sterilized and modified milk products to China will open up great development opportunities for Vietnamese dairy farming and production industries.

Pham Van Dong, Director of the Department of Livestock Husbandry under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said the ministry would propose that China’s General Department of Customs review and verify applications of four other Vietnamese enterprises that applied at the same time as TH Milk. The ministry will guide them in improving profiles to ensure Chinese approval.

The ministry will also continue inspecting and supervising the veterinary sanitary conditions, disease control, and chain-based food safety and hygiene supervision in dairy farms and production facilities that wish to apply for Chinese import licenses in the future in compliance with the signed protocol. The ministry will also provide specific guidance for enterprises to apply to the General Department of Customs of China in accordance with the protocol.

Chinese Ambassador to Vietnam Xiong Bo believes that more Vietnamese enterprises will be licensed to export milk products to China and hopes the two countries will work together to further promote cooperation, especially in agriculture.

Dairies are among the farm products that face the highest food safety, hygiene and nutrition export barriers. The Department of Livestock Husbandry is expected to send the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) applications for certifying Vietnam’s disease-free dairy farming areas in December 2022.

China’s opening of its doors to Vietnamese dairy products is expected to help Vietnam increase its dairy export value to this market from US$120 million to US$300 million by 2020.

Nguyen Hanh