The high-quality trade deal has enabled many Vietnamese enterprises to stand strong through the pandemic over the last two years, Luong Hoang Thai, Director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Multilateral Trade Policy Department, told the Vietnam News Agency.
He further cited that last year, Vietnam ranked 11th among exporters to the EU globally. In Asia, the country came fifth, only after China, Japan, the Republic of Korea and India.
It showed Vietnam’s heightened position in the EU market, given that it is a very demanding market with high quality requirements, he said.
Now the EU is also Vietnam’s third largest importer of agricultural products. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, two-way trade of agricultural, forestry and aquatic products grew from US$4.3 billion in 2015 to US$4.5 billion in 2020.
The figure rose further after the EVFTA came into force, to US$5.2 billion in 2020, up 15.56% from a year earlier. It totalled US$2.66 billion in the first five months of this year, a year-on-year surge of 26%. Vietnam’s shipments stood at US$2,145 billion, up 36.6% year-on-year.
Many agricultural products posted double-digit growth, including coffee, aquatic products, vegetables and pepper, while rice enjoyed a triple-digit jump.
Preferential customs duties from the EVFTA have prompted Vietnamese seafood exporters to drastically improve quality of their products, said General Secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) Truong Dinh Hoe.
The trade pact has made producers pay greater attention to not only quantity but also added value of the products, he said, adding that they have been keeping in mind that the EVFTA remains a key for them to enter the EU market.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien said Vietnamese and EU products are non-competitive but complimentary to each other and there are plenty of room for both sides to step up agricultural product trade.
Given that Vietnam has been actively participating in the global food chain amidst disruptions caused by Covid-19, Tien said his ministry stands ready to cooperate with the EU to foster trade facilitation, protect standards and minimise trade barriers between the two sides.