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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Vietnamese agricultural products can tap UK market

By Le Hoang

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HCMC – Vietnam’s agro-forestry-fishery products can swiftly tap the United Kingdom market thanks to the United Kingdom-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA), heard a conference titled, “Unlock the potential of the United Kingdom market and utilizing benefits from UKVFTA.”

The conference was co-organized by the European-American Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Vietnam-UK Friendship Association in HCMC on June 23.

Speaking at the event, experts said that these products have an excellent chance to enter the UK market, especially after the UKVFTA came into effect last year with a series of incentives for agro-forestry-fishery products.

Nguyen Khanh Ngoc, deputy head of the European-American Market Department, said that Vietnam has much potential to become Britain’s major food and farm produce provider, thanks to the ongoing shift of supply chains.

“As import tariffs were reduced to zero after January 1, 2021, as part of the UKVFTA, many of Vietnam’s goods have become more competitive than similar goods from other exporters to the UK,” said Ngoc.

Chris Milliken, deputy head of the British Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, said that the bilateral trade turnover between Vietnam and the UK has recovered to the pre-pandemic level due to the UKVFTA.

The UK market sells multiple Vietnamese products, including seafood, woodwork, pepper, cashew nuts and coffee, Milliken said, adding that the volume of Vietnamese cashew nuts accounts for 90% of the total in the UK.

Oliver Todd, British Consul General in HCMC and Director for the UK Trade in Vietnam, believed Vietnam could replace other countries to become Britain’s new farm produce supplier amid the shift of supply chains.

Despite big opportunities to tap the UK market, many Vietnamese exporters are facing obstacles in seeking partners, grasping the demand of UK customers, meeting quality standards, conducting export procedures and avoiding contract and payment risks.

To increase the market share of Vietnamese goods in the UK market, Vietnamese firms should manufacture products in line with British standards, improve the quality of goods and understand export procedures well, according to the representative from the European-American Market Department.

Besides, the firms should invest more in storage technology and transport, form a Vietnamese enterprise network in the UK and have proactive access to major British companies to develop a firm supply chain.

Bui Thi Thanh An, deputy head of the Trade Promotion Agency at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, affirmed that the ministry always helps Vietnamese firms popularize their brands through trade promotion programs, seek customers and connect with partners in the UK and other markets.

Statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs indicated that the Britain-Vietnam trade turnover amounted to US$6.6 billion in 2021, up 17.2% year-on-year. Vietnam’s exports to the UK reached some US$5.8 billion last year, up 16.4% year-on-year.

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