Vietnamese and European businesses have shared their information about food safety standards and opportunities for farm produce and beverage products to enter in each other’s market once the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) becomes effective.

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Cao Quoc Hung told participants at a workshop in Hanoi on November 3 that Vietnam and the EU are scheduled to officially sign the deal in the next few months following the conclusion of negotiations in late 2015 and the announcement of the full text of the document in February 2016.

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Cao Quoc Hung speaking at the workshop. Photo:

The agreement is expected to motivate bilateral trade and investment ties thanks to tax reduction and commitments regarding market access, he said.

The official added that the conference is a chance for businesses of both sides to update information about commitments in the EVFTA as well as the tax reduction roadmap and current regulations of both markets in terms of food safety, investment, distribution and licensing for food and beverage products.

Meanwhile, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan asserted that the EVFTA is a high quality deal that brings balanced benefits to both sides. Vietnam and the EU are economies that can supplement to each other for mutual benefit, he said.

Hogan also shared information related to the EU’s requirements for agricultural products and foodstuff, including their origins and production methods, along with food safety and environment-friendly standards.

Deputy Director of the Agro-Forestry-Fishery Quality Management Department Phung Huu Hao said Vietnamese farm produce has been sold in 160 countries and territories all over the world.

He expressed his hope to receive more support from the EU in upgrading equipment in quality control labs, as well as in training officials for the labs as well as inspectors in agriculture and food.

Participants at the conference also discussed various issues related to the import of plant and animal-originated products of Vietnam, the promotion of sustainable agriculture, the import and distribution of alcohol and spirits in Vietnam, as well as opportunities to invest in agriculture once the EVFTA takes effect.

Speaking at a press conference during his three-day visit to Vietnam from November 2-4, Hogan said that his entourage includes senior leaders of more than 40 European firms operating in agriculture and food processing, who want to seek partners in Vietnam.

The enterprises, coming from various countries such as Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Spain and the UK, will introduce various agricultural products, foodstuff and beverage to local customers and importers.

He underscored that the EVFTA will generate specious chances for Vietnamese and European producers to seek growing markets for their high quality farm produce.

In 2015, the EU earned EUR 129 billion from agricultural product and food exports, making it the world’s biggest exporter.

The delegation is scheduled to visit the southern largest economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City, where they will attend a workshop on food quality norms such as geographic indication and business opportunities in Vietnam.

Source: VNA