Wednesday,  Sep 26, 2018,08:24 (GMT+7) 0 0
Trade counselors’ role crucial for agriculture development
Thuy Dung
Friday,  Feb 9, 2018,21:17 (GMT+7)

Trade counselors’ role crucial for agriculture development

Thuy Dung

Trade counselors participate in a conference in Hanoi on February 8 to discuss ways to boost Vietnam’s farm exports - PHOTO: THUY DUNG

HANOI – In order to achieve US$40 billion in farm produce export revenue this year, trade counselors should provide information about markets, new tax policies and tariff and non-tariff barriers in importing countries, the agriculture ministry said at a conference in Hanoi on February 8.

Nearly 70 trade counselors attended a conference jointly held by the Ministries of Agriculture-Rural Development and Industry-Trade.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the production value of the agriculture sector last year increased 3.16% over 2016 while export turnover reached US$36.37 billion. The sector set a target to increase the proportion of agriculture in gross domestic product (GDP) by 3% and that of agro-forestry-fishery production value by 3.3-3.5%.

The target is ambitious as importing markets including the U.S., China, Japan, the EU and South Korea are setting up new barriers to protect their agricultural products, said Tran Van Cong, deputy director of the Farm Produce Processing and Market Development Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

In addition, Vietnam is facing numerous difficulties in negotiations to expand markets for local agricultural products. Especially, it takes five to seven years to complete negotiations for each product.

Requirements for quality and food safety in importing countries such as China and India are stricter as well.

Fierce competition in prices, quality and food safety, and differences in trade models in potential markets such as the Middle East and Africa are also obstacles to the local agriculture sector.

The coordination between agencies under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and trade counselors is not yet effective as information about new polices and demands of importing countries has not been provided in a timely manner. Besides, there have been shortcomings in handling trade disputes, removal of technical and trade barriers and supporting agricultural enterprises in investment, promotion and product introduction.

At the conference, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said he expected trade counselors to timely provide information about markets, technologies and new trends.

Regarding the Japanese market, Pham Duc Minh, Vietnamese trade counselor in Japan, said some Vietnamese agricultural products have been admitted to the Japanese market but transport costs are high, so Vietnam should take measures to make transport more affordable.

Minister Cuong told Minh to help Vietnam export eggs to Japan and learn from Japan’s experience to help local firms better preserve fruits.

Nguyen Hoang Thuy, Vietnamese trade counselor 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.

Vietnam earlier allowed the import of 38 fruits from Australia without conditions. However, reciprocal trade practices should be set now. For example, Vietnam will receive Australian cherry shipments if Australia imports Vietnamese mango and dragon fruit.

In addition, Vietnam should enter into negotiations to export shrimp to Australia as Vietnam has imported a large volume of Australian beef.

Thuy also suggested the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development inform trade counselors of the products that Vietnam intends to import or suspend.

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