Vietnam begins agricultural exports to EU

Export of fruits, coffee follows seafood as free trade deal cuts tariffs

JAKARTA, Indonesia

Vietnam has started exporting its agricultural products to European markets under a trade agreement with the EU

The country’s Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry said the exports include dragon fruit, coffee, coconut, grapefruit, and passion fruit.

Under the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), the bloc will remove tariffs on 86.5% of Vietnam’s seafood exports over the next three years, 90.3% in the next five years, and on all seafood exports within seven years.

Vietnamese exporters have taken advantage of the preferential tariffs by increasing seafood shipments by around 10% since early August.

The EU is the largest market for Vietnamese coffee, accounting for 38% of the country’s total exports.

The average annual exports value to the bloc has been around $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion for the past five years.

“Vietnam’s agricultural sector would be one of the beneficiaries from the EVFTA as the reduction in tariffs would boost exports to the European market,” the agriculture ministry said in a statement.

Vo Tan Thanh, deputy chair of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said farmers must switch from traditional cultivation to sustainable cultivation to take full advantage of the trade deal.

“The government must also improve food safety management and attract more investment in agriculture,” he said.

According to EU data, agricultural products account for 11.75% of trade between Vietnam and the bloc.

* Writing by Maria Elisa Hospita from Anadolu Agency’s Indonesian-language service in Jakarta.