Trần Quốc Khánh, the Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, spoke to Thời báo Kinh tế Việt Nam (Viêt Nam Economic Times) about what Vietnamese exporters should do to secure a firm foothold in foreign markets.
Some people have expressed worry that our non-tariff barriers to trade are not strong enough to help Vietnamese goods compete against foreign made goods in our domestic market. How do you respond to this complaint?
All Vietnamese enterprises want strong non-tariff barriers to trade in the competition with the influx of foreign made goods in our territory.
But that is not a good approach. We accept decreasing tariff barriers to allow fair competition with foreign commodities. We don’t have any intention to introduce preventive measures to limit the flow of foreign commodities into our country. This is a philosophy of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).
As a signatory to several FTAs, we have committed to not introducing any trade barriers to limit the flow of foreign made products into our country. But under the FTAs, all countries have the right to introduce measures to protect their consumers’ health, animal welfare, plants and the environment.
Under the FTAs, all countries are allowed to adopt their own measures to protect the environment, ensure healthy competition and fairness, such as anti-dumping measures, preventive measures and anti-subsidization policy. Such measures have already been applied by our government.
Preventive measures have become the biggest worry of Vietnamese exporting firms. The European market has adopted very strong non-tariff barriers to trade (NTBs). Do you have any suggestions for Vietnamese exporters?
Psychologically speaking, most Vietnamese exporters think NTBs are measures to prevent the influx of foreign goods into their countries. In reality, many of the NTBs introduced by importing countries are aimed towards information disclosure, transparency and fairness. These rules apply to both exporting and importing firms.
In the Việt Nam - EU FTA, if EU importers adopt NTBs towards Vietnamese exported goods - to protect consumer health, animal welfare and the environment - there is no reason for Việt Nam firms to reject their demands.
What do you think about the NTBs the European Union has introduced?
All NTBs introduced by the EU are geared towards the goal of protecting consumer health.
These NTBs are good for consumers, both inside and outside Việt Nam. So such quality standards should be upheld.
Vietnamese exporters should carefully study technical requirements of each foreign importer, be they in the EU, the US, Japan, or elsewhere.
If Vietnamese exporters are well prepared in advance, they will be in a good position to be successful exporters.
In your opinion, what should Vietnamese enterprises do to confront the NTBs imposed by importers from major markets?
The Ministry of Industry and Trade recommends that any enterprise wanting to do business with big markets - like the EU, the US, Japan and others - should create a special task force in their enterprise to study technical requirements from importing countries. Such information is already contained in the FTAs Việt Nam has signed with them.
Only when we understand technical requirements from importing countries, will we be able to enter the markets and become their sustainable clients.— VNS