|Accordingly, Vietnamese catfish exported to the US market will have to fulfill all requirements set for local products from production to packaging and exporting.— File Photo
HA NOI (VNS)— The newly-approved five-year farm bill on February 4 which has caused worry for Vietnamese tra and basa producers would not have direct affect this year, said Truong Dinh Hoe, general secretary of the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).
Under the provision, the inspection of catfish, including Vietnamese tra and basa fish, will be moved out of the remit of the Food and Drug Administration and into the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Accordingly, Vietnamese catfish exported to the US market will have to fulfill all requirements set for local products from production to packaging and exporting.
Nguyen Van Hai, head of the Thoi An Tra Fish Corporative in southern Can Tho City's O Mon Ward said the bill was unfair for Vietnamese tra sector as technical breeding and financial potential between Viet Nam and the US were different.
Hai said Vietnamese tra producers would take several years to catch up with the US farmers in terms of breeding area planning though tra fish products have met quality requirements of the US and EU.
While the move was considered a barrier for Vietnamese tra producers and exporters, experts said the situation would not be too negative.
Pham Anh Tuan, deputy head of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's General Department of Fisheries said the approval caused no surprise as the bill in 2008 planned to make the Department of Agriculture manage catfish group.
In addition, Tuan said Vietnamese enterprises have understood that importers often provided technical barriers to protect their local agricultural products.
Tuan said Viet Nam could take a lawsuit against the bill to the World Trade Organisation if its regulations did not followed the international laws and science basis.
Sharing the ideas, Hoe said documents guiding on implementation of the bill would be completed in 2015, leaving a year for Vietnamese producers and exporters for preparation.
He said the issue was to ask the US to review supervision programmes on catfish to ensure fair dealings. Especially, the supervision should obey common standards in production.
Duong Ngoc Minh, VASEP's vice chairman said the articles in the bill would not cause barriers for Viet Nam's tra production chain in comparison with USDA's management on some Vietnamese fruits.
Several Vietnamese enterprises have gained the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) standards which addressed environmental and social responsibility, animal welfare, food safety and tractability in a voluntary certification programme for aquaculture facilities.
Viet Nam's tra industry also met European standards including the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), GlobalGAP and the British Retail Consortium (BRC). — VNS