Trade Counsellors Signal New Opportunities for Agricultural Exports

Trade Counsellors Signal New Opportunities for Agricultural Exports

Optimistic signals

In 2017, the network of Vietnam Trade Offices in foreign countries did well marketing and export promotion, particularly introducing Vietnam's typical agricultural products and fruits to foreign markets, step by step bringing Vietnamese goods into international distribution chains and boosting Vietnamese agricultural product brands.

Vietnam’s fresh longan and fresh shrimps of Vietnam will be exported to Australia from 2019, said Ms Nguyen Hoang Thuy, Vietnamese trade counsellor in Australia. In 2017, Vietnam successfully exported dragon fruits and mangos to this market.

Ms Do Thi Thu Huong, trade counsellor in Canada, said that import tariffs on key commodities of Vietnam are zero now and many Canadian companies are thus looking for suppliers in Vietnam to replace their Chinese partners which are being imposed 17 per cent of tax.

Regarding the Japanese market, Mr Ta Duc Minh, trade counsellor in Japan, said, Japanese consumers highly appreciate many Vietnamese agricultural products such as mango, banana and chicken. However, high prices of these items in this market have weakened competitiveness there.

In 2017, Vietnam’s export value of vegetables and fruits topped US$3 billion. If the annual growth is over 20 per cent, the value is estimated to reach over US$4.5 billion in 2020 (up more than 80 per cent over 2016), of which fruits will account for more than US$3.6 billion or 80 per cent of the total. The value was project to amount to US$7 billion in 2030, with over US$6 billion from fruits. The trade surplus of this item will be over US$1.5 billion.

The strong export growth of fruits and vegetables is driven by increased shipments to Vietnam's most important markets. Currently, Vietnamese vegetables and fruits are available in nearly 60 markets around the world. Typically, litchi, rambutan, dragon fruit, mango and longan are present in such high-standard markets as the United States, Australia, Japan and South Korea.

Trade counsellors in some European and Asian countries said that businesses need to penetrate foreign markets effectively, adding that they should focus on quality and price rather than staging massive penetrations of low-priced items.

From a small export, fruits and vegetables have gradually risen to become a key export of Vietnam. In 2016, they surpassed rice for the first time.

Enhanced connectivity 
Businesses indeed need trade counsellors to inform them how to take advantage of opportunities offered by FTAs and warn them how to avoid possible risks to their exports. In addition, Vietnam Trade Offices should mobilise local businesses to cooperate with Vietnamese partners; join hands with trade ministries and agencies there to settle issues arising from the course of implementation of FTAs, helping both sides promptly warn each other of potential commercial disputes to have remedy measures to minimise trade disputes.

Mr Tran Quoc Khanh, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, said that trade counsellors have worked hard to support Vietnamese firms to bring Vietnamese goods to foreign markets by studying trade policies there to inform Vietnamese companies. They also help survey markets, assess partners and connect foreign companies for Vietnamese companies.

Mr Tran Van Cong, Deputy Director of the Farm Produce Processing and Market Development Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, requested trade counsellors to focus on updating information on production and business protections in agriculture in host countries for Vietnamese firms.

Ms Nguyen Hoang Thuy, Trade Counsellor in Australia, said it is hard and time-consuming for Vietnamese products to enter Australia. It took 12 years for Vietnam to be able to export litchi to Australia. For that reason, we need to find a solution to shorten negotiation processes.