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Vietnam Today

Vietnam the first stop for European agri-food enterprises

Released at: 21:38, 03/11/2016

Vietnam the first stop for European agri-food enterprises

Photo: Q.Nguyen

Commissioner of the EU Commission for Agriculture and Rural Development addresses media during vist to Vietnam.

by Quynh Nguyen

Vietnam is considered the first stop in ASEAN for European agri-food companies and will become a distribution hub for European goods in the region thanks to the opportunities presented by the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which is expected to take effect in 2018, Mr. Phil Hogan, Commissioner of the EU Commission for Agriculture and Rural Development, told a meeting with local media on November 3 during his visit to Vietnam along with 41 European food and beverage companies seeking opportunities in the country.

He also said that not only are Vietnamese people increasingly interested in European agri-food products but also growing numbers of European consumers are keen on discovering Vietnam’s exotic offerings.

“The recently concluded EVFTA offers tremendous opportunities for both Vietnamese and European producers to find growing markets for high quality EU produce,” he added.

The impressive growth of Vietnamese products in the EU over recent years, as shown by the nearly 20 billion euro ($22.1 billion) trade surplus it recorded last year, much of which was in agriculture, best demonstrates Vietnam’s enormous potential, which will be fully optimized by the FTA and the complete dismantling of tariffs beginning in early 2018.

EU-Vietnam trade totaled over 3.84 billion euros ($4.2 billion) in 2015, with 29.9 billion euros ($33.1 billion) of Vietnamese exports and 8.4 billion euros ($9.31 billion) in EU imports into Vietnam, ranking it 21st among the EU’s trading partners.

The EU was Vietnam’s second largest trading partner after China and the second largest overseas market for Vietnamese products after the US. Vietnam also became the EU’s second largest trade partner in ASEAN after Singapore and ahead of Malaysia.

Key export items to the EU include telephones, electronic products, footwear, textiles and clothing, coffee, rice, seafood, and furniture. EU exports to Vietnam are dominated by high-tech products such as electrical machinery and equipment, aircraft, vehicles, and pharmaceuticals. 

Mr. Hogan is in Vietnam from November 2-4 and leading a high-level delegation of agri-food businesses. As Commissioner he is responsible for managing the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy for the 500 million citizens of the 28 EU member states.

His mission is to increase links between the EU and Vietnam in the area of agri-food trade, building upon the recent conclusion of negotiations over the EVFTA.

During his visit he also met senior Vietnamese officials, addressed the opening of a seminar on the EVFTA on November 3 in Hanoi, and will join a business forum on November 4 in Ho Chi Minh City.

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