News Story: Vietnamese agricultural products face great opportunities to export to the UK
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‘Vietnam is facing a great opportunity to export rice, fruits and other agricultural products to the UK – one of the 10 largest markets in the world with an annual food import turnover of up to 65.5 billion VND. USD’.
This is a statement made by the delegates at the ‘Conference on Trade Promotion of Agricultural Products’ between Vietnam and the UK, organized by the Vietnamese Embassy in the UK, joined in person and online on September 28. The seminar was attended by representatives of the UK-ASEAN Business Council (UKABC), Southeast Asia Trade Support Organization (SEATFO) and distribution businesses in the UK; and more than 100 enterprises exporting Vietnamese agricultural products.
According to the Vietnam News Agency correspondent in London, the workshop titled ‘Discovering tropical specialities’ discussed the potential, approach, requirements and standards of the British market for imported agricultural products. A showcase of Vietnamese agricultural production following the global GAP standards were introduced via video clips. At the seminar, British experts and businesses also answered questions of Vietnamese exporters about the UK market.
Speaking at the seminar, the Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK – Nguyen Hoang Long – said that Vietnam and the UK expect bilateral trade to have a remarkable development after the two countries signed the UK-VN Free Trade Agreement in December 2020. The Ambassador said that since agricultural products are a strong export product of Vietnam and the UK is a large market for this product, trade in agricultural products between the two countries has great potential to develop, especially as Vietnam is aiming to export quality agricultural products rather than focussing on quantity and start building a strong global brand.
Giving advice to Vietnamese exporters, Mr Ian Gibbons, Chief Executive of UKABC, said that an important factor to export to the UK is that businesses need to do thorough market research on their product, to ensure they are suitable and able to compete in the market. He also pointed out the importance of building trust with UK partners through developing long-term and sustainable relationships. In addition, exporters to the UK need to ensure the transparency of businesses and products, through building websites, providing information about products, production lines, output, trading partners, etc. Mr Gibbons said that once trust and prestige are built with British partners, exporting will be favourable.
Meanwhile, Mr John Gavin, Director of Southeast Asia Trade Support Organization (SEATFO), pointed out that British importers and consumers value the value of goods according to the philosophy that the price varies. It is important for enterprises to ensure products of good quality meet market requirements; must provide good customer service and on-time delivery; while ensuring transparency with customers. In addition, British businesses also value partners who uphold environmental protection, participate in social activities and have good governance.
According to Vietnam Trade Counselor in the UK, Nguyen Canh Cuong, a significant challenge for Vietnamese businesses when accessing the UK market is the lack of global GAP standards and the lack of a marketing strategy that meets the needs of the UK market and the expectations of UK distributors and consumers.
In the period 2010-2019, bilateral trade between Vietnam and the UK has tripled, from 2.19 billion USD in 2010 to 6.61 billion USD in 2019. In 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic- 19 outbreaks disrupted the global trading system, the export value of goods from Vietnam to the UK still reached nearly 5 billion USD.
In the first 6 months of this year after the UKVFTA took effect, the bilateral trade turnover between Vietnam and the UK had a spectacular breakthrough with a total value of 3.3 billion USD, up 28% over the same period last year in which exports from Vietnam reached nearly $2.9 billion, up 29%, despite the unpredictable developments of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It can be said that the potential for cooperation in the field of trade between the two countries is still very large. Vietnam has great potential in producing agricultural products and tropical fruits. In the last three years, the total export value of Vietnam’s agricultural products has always reached over 40 billion USD/year, of which has been exported to many high-quality standard markets such as the UK, EU, USA, Japan, etc. Vietnam has surpassed Thailand and now holds the second position in rice exports, after India, and it’s the world’s largest exporter of pepper and cashew nuts and the second-largest coffee exporter in the world.
With 94% of the total 547 tariff lines on agricultural products being eliminated when the UKVFTA takes effect, Vietnamese agricultural products are facing great opportunities to export to the UK market, including products such as: rice, banana, mango, litchi, longan, rambutan, dragon fruit.