The conference was attended by Mr. Phung Duc Tien - Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Deputy Minister of Trade Office, Mr. Saornil Minguez - Embassy of Spain in Vietnam, Mr. Nguyen Quang Hung - Deputy Director of General Department of Fisheries, Mr. Nguyen Huu Hoang - Vice Chairman of Khanh Hoa Provincial People's Committee, and representatives of Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), Vietnam Fisheries Association, and representatives of Hai Vuong Limited Company.
According to the report at the meeting, the EVFTA Agreement took effect from August 1st, 2020. Particularly for the fisheries sector, the elimination of tariffs in EVFTA is expected to create a great opportunity for seafood exports. Specifically, the European Union (EU) will eliminate tariffs on 86.5% of Vietnam's seafood export turnover in 3 years; 90.3% within 5 years and 100% within 7 years. For canned tuna, the EU gives Vietnam a tariff quota of 11,500 tons.
Speaking at the conference, Deputy Minister Mr. Phung Duc Tien assessed that Vietnam took advantage of EVFTA, seafood exports have increased significantly in number of orders from the beginning of August up to now. However, in order to be ready for EVFTA to take effect, seafood businesses have prepared a system of international standards, certification, updated information on processing activities, logistics in recent years to meet internal requirements. In particular, Vietnam is also mobilizing the entire political system, making efforts at the highest level to remove the EC yellow card, to ensure sustainable development and maintain the reputation of the Vietnamese fisheries sector. As well as paying particular attention to the prohibition of the use of antioxidants for the protection of marine feed products, certain products of such pathogenic species are restricted to the highest degree.
According to the Deputy Minister, tuna is one of Vietnam's high-value export products to the EU market in addition to shrimp. Moreover, European demand for home canned tuna has risen sharply due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Deputy Minister claimed that the EVFTA agreement with special preferences on tariffs would open up an even greater opportunity for Vietnamese tuna goods. By the end of July 2020, the average export of Vietnamese tuna to the EU market had hit USD 10.5 million per month. After the EVFTA came into force on August 1, 2020, the export value of tuna has risen to USD 11.4 million (up 8.6 percent) and to USD 11.9 million in September, up 13.3 percent relative to the previous months.
Also at the conference, Mr. Le Huu Hoang, Vice Chairman of Khanh Hoa Provincial People's Committee said that since the EVFTA Agreement was signed and came into force, it has opened up great opportunities and a great drive for seafood businesses Vietnam in general and Khanh Hoa province in particular to expand export markets, especially tuna exports. Currently, Thailand and China are two countries holding large export market shares, but both have not signed a Free Trade Agreement with the EU and are not members of the Comprehensive Partnership Agreement and Trans-Pacific Progress (CPTPP). Consequently, Vietnam's tuna export has tax advantages relative to other countries in two major market areas such as the EU and CPTPP member countries' markets. In order to take advantage of the incentives, Mr Hoang said that companies ought to comply with the strict levels of food safety and hygiene of the EC. Accompanying the tax incentives commitments of the EVFTA Agreement are high criteria for consistency, food protection and hygiene, antibiotic regulations for export goods that Vietnamese businesses need to follow in order to get the advantages, or there would be several difficulties.
Representative of Hai Vuong Company Limited-an enterprise for manufacturing, trading and exporting seafood products, in particular tuna, is headquartered in Suoi Dau Industrial Region, Cam Lam District (Khanh Hoa Province) said that with 220 seafood items with a base tax rate of 0-22%, the highest tax rate of 6-22% would be 0 percent from 1 August, 2020. Particularly, frozen tuna loin and fillet basic tax rate from 18% will be reduced to 0% according to the 3-year schedule; canned tuna EU for Vietnam tariff quota is 11,500 tons per year. It can be said that this is an opportunity for businesses to increase market expansion and take advantage of competitive advantages with competitors such as Thailand, which are subject to a tax rate of 18-24%.
According to VASEP, Vietnam's seafood exports, including tuna, have yet to escape the crisis in the context of the complicated Covid-19 epidemic. However, with EVFTA, it is forecast that the total value of tuna exported to the EU market in 2020 will reach 123 million USD. The Vietnam Tuna Association is building two value chains for yellowfin tuna and melon streaks under the Tuna Fisheries Improvement Program (FIP) and gaining international certification in order to foresee the opportunity and extend tuna exports to the EU. In this value chain, three important connections must be well addressed. Accordingly, for fishermen's links and purchasing ships, the association is focusing on supporting and training fishermen to achieve the goal of providing safe and transparent tuna products by keeping a diary in accordance with regulations; raising the fishermen's awareness of protecting the ecosystem and environment with technical solutions and not discharging waste at sea. The second connection is the export processing factory. Currently, 23 factories and 7 international buyers from around the world have participated for tuna. There are 14 canned food processing factories and 4 international buyers for striped tuna. Thereby the seafood traceability code is built. This access code is recognized by international buyers. The association is piloting electronic traceability in Binh Thuan to help make tuna products transparent. For the third link is buyers. The association has connected 7 ocean tuna buyers and 4 striped tuna buyers in international markets have the responsibility of providing support to help Vietnam develop its fisheries.
Le Mai (theo tongcucthuysan.gov.vn)