HCMC – Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Vietnam exported US$45.8 billion worth of products to the European Union (EU) in 2021, up 14.2% year-on-year, thanks to the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).
Bilateral trade between the EU and Vietnam reached US$63.6 billion, rising 14.8% over 2020. Of which, Vietnam spent US$17.9 billion importing goods from the EU, up 16.5%, Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper reported.
Notably, the revenue from Vietnam’s exports to the EU using the EUR.1 Certificate of Origin reached US$7.8 billion, meaning that many Vietnamese firms have made use of tariff cuts provided in the EVFTA.
The deal has opened up a huge opportunity for Vietnam’s rice exporters. Data from the General Department of Vietnam Customs showed that in the January-November period of 2021, Vietnam exported 53,910 tons of rice worth US$38.07 million to the EU, up 0.8% in volume and 21.6% in value.
Last year, Loc Troi Group Joint Stock Company accounted for nearly 70% of Vietnam’s total rice exports to the EU. In September 2020, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development chose the company to export the first fragrant rice batch to the EU under the EVFTA.
Loc Troi general director Nguyen Duy Thuan said Vietnam’s rice sector would have more opportunities in the EU this year and the firm would take advantage of all opportunities ushered in by the EVFTA.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the EU, with 27 member countries and a total population of 516 million people, has a high demand for goods, especially agricultural products.
When the EVFTA came into force, many agricultural products of Vietnam, such as cashew nuts, vegetables, fruits, coffee, tea and rubber, have been entitled to preferential tariffs, increasing the competitiveness of these products.
Besides farm produce, the EVFTA has offered export opportunities for other Vietnamese products, such as textiles and garments, footwear and electronic accessories.
According to Tran Thanh Hai, deputy head of the Import-Export Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, new-generation FTAs, such as EVFTA, CPTPP and bilateral FTAs, have helped Vietnam’s exports grow.
According to the ministry, the country’s import-export turnover in 2021 hit nearly US$670 billion, up 23%, including US$336 billion worth of exports. Last year, Vietnam recorded a trade surplus of some US$4 billion. Thus, the country has enjoyed a trade surplus for six consecutive years.
To continue boosting the effectiveness of the EVFTA, Vietnamese agricultural firms need to mobilize resources to enhance the export of their products in the coming periods to increase their market shares in the EU.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade forecast that coffee, cashew nuts, rubber, vegetables, fruits, rice and tea will remain Vietnam’s key export earners from the EU this year.
Economic experts have also predicted that Vietnam’s export markets would expand to many countries that are also members of FTAs, including the EVFTA, this year. The apparel, footwear, wood and electronics sectors have set a target to grow over 10% each this year.
Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien asked the Import-Export Department to instruct enterprises to grasp opportunities ushered in by trade deals and inform them of opportunities.
The department was also asked to cooperate with other relevant agencies to boost production activities in line with the demands and requirements in other members of FTAs, including the EVFTA.