Việt Nam, UK free trade deal catalyst for boosting export

October 04, 2023 - 23:43
Deputy Minister Tiến announced that the Vietnamese agriculture ministry is currently completing the procedures to open the market for pork and poultry from the UK to Việt Nam.

HÀ NỘI — Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phùng Đức Tiến on Wednesday had a working session with the visiting Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack in Hà Nội.

The visit of the Scottish delegation reaffirmed the growing friendship between the two countries, especially as Việt Nam and the United Kingdom are celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations this year.

In recent years, the Việt Nam-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) has been a catalyst for boosting the export growth of both countries' goods. Specifically, the export of goods between the two countries has grown by more than 20 per cent from the beginning of 2021 to the present. Currently, the UK is Việt Nam's third-largest trading partner in Europe and the ninth-largest export market for Vietnamese goods worldwide.

Deputy Minister Tiến said Việt Nam is currently ranked 15th in the world in terms of exports of agricultural, forestry, and aquatic products. Among them, seven products with annual export turnover exceeding US$3 billion include rice, vegetables and fruits, seafood, cashew nuts, coffee, wood, and wood products.

Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries are the only sectors that continuously bring in trade surplus for Việt Nam, he noted.

He said the ministry highly values the Việt Nam-UK trade relations, believing that the agricultural systems of both countries have consistently supported each other, creating conditions to promote the economy.

Deputy Minister Tiến announced that the Vietnamese agriculture ministry is currently completing the procedures to open the market for pork and poultry from the UK to Việt Nam. At the same time, he hopes that the UK will promptly approve the imports of chicken meat and chicken cuts from Việt Nam.

In the coming time, Deputy Minister Tiến hopes that the two countries will enhance cooperation in promoting the dissemination of import regulations and supporting the trade promotion of products of plant origin and plant protection drugs; as well as continue to exchange information, especially in technical aspects of coastal space planning for aquaculture, seafood exploitation, and offshore wind power development.

Tiến also identified the potential for Vietnamese coffee to access the UK market.

"We have more than 700,000ha of coffee cultivation with the world's highest productivity, nearly four tonnes per hectare. Therefore, we want to introduce this product to the Association of Coffee of the UK and learn about the coffee consumption preferences in your country," Tiến told the UK official.

The two officials have also discussed the possibility of organising a business networking conference for the coffee, seafood, pork, and poultry processing industries.

Taking into account the opinions of Việt Nam's agriculture ministry, the Secretary of State for Scotland agreed to expand and explore the Vietnamese coffee brand.

Alister Jack also expressed his desire to introduce UK's world-famous salmon and beef products to Việt Nam.

He expressed his belief that agricultural trade between Việt Nam and the UK is at its peak.

The continuous exchange of agricultural, forestry, and seafood products between the two countries not only serves the economy but also promotes tourism and this diversifies domestic consumption and provides food for many customer segments, the Scottish leader remarked.

Civet coffee from Việt Nam could be a potential valuable export to the UK. — VNA/VNS Photo

Jack notes that Vietnamese coffee has good quality and high production compared to other countries in the world, especially the unique flavor of civet coffee. He hopes to cooperate in promoting trade of coffee products and other strengths of Việt Nam in the future.

Regarding Scotland, information has been provided that the export of pork and chicken products from Việt Nam to Scotland has been gradually implemented and completed. In addition, Scotland is exploring the market for duck meat, goose meat, and fresh milk, and has proposed to the Vietnamese agriculture ministry to create favorable conditions for both sides to proceed smoothly and according to the correct procedures.

He also expressed his interest in learning more about the procedures for exporting Scottish seafood to Việt Nam and committed to providing feedback on the process of importing Vietnamese poultry products into the UK soon.

Secretary of State Alister Jack mentioned that the UKVFTA and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) promise significant potential for cooperation between the two countries.

The pacts lays the groundwork for future exchanges in building institutions, policies, and technology transfer during the green transformation and sustainable development process.

Regarding cooperation within the framework of the Biodiversity Landscape Fund signed between the two countries' agriculture ministers in April 2023, Deputy Minister Tiến committed to allocating appropriate resources and directing specialised agencies to coordinate effectively.

In the future, the Việt Nam's agriculture ministry will establish a Steering Committee to coordinate and implement the Memorandum of Understanding on the matter, he told the UK guest.

The Scotland side values Việt Nam's commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Jack said agriculture is a truly important field for both countries, and the UN COP26 conference has opened up many opportunities for the two sides to jointly build sustainable agricultural policies as a practical step to address global issues.

The Biodiversity Landscape Fund aims to help the Mekong Delta region achieve poverty reduction goals, reduce biodiversity loss, and minimise the impacts of climate change. This agreement is expected to provide significant resources for biodiversity conservation in the lower Mekong River region, both in specific and in Việt Nam as a whole. — VNS

Processing clams at Lenger Vietnam Company (Lenger Seafoods Vietnam) for export to the EU, UK, Japan, USA, and South Korea. — VNA/VNS Photo