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Export-Import

Last updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2018

 

Poor Exported Foodstuff: Barriers to Enter Major Markets

Posted: Monday, January 22, 2018


Unsafe exported foodstuff constitutes a barrier to break into high-value markets and exports may be rejected by markets where they used to be present.

While the export value of many agricultural products of Vietnam always grows at a double-digit pace, many others are unable to access major markets like the United States, South Korea and Japan although they have great potential and room for development. In addition to many objective factors such as price, market and consumer tastes, food safety is a major reason for this. The food safety process is still far behind most exporters in developed countries.
In reality, the current food supply system in Vietnam largely depends on a myriad of small and micro production entities, making it difficult to secure food safety in the short term.

According to the Report on “Vietnam Food Safety Risks Management: Challenges and Opportunities” introduced by the World Bank (WB) and its partners in March 2017, a global analysis of 3,400 food safety events in 2013 ranked Vietnam sixth, responsible for 5 per cent of cases. One of the most problematic foodstuffs is seafood (23 per cent) and this is also the main export of Vietnam. In other analyses, seafood, fruits and vegetables are the most problematic foodstuffs. Fish and fish products are susceptible to contamination and this is particularly serious when chemical contaminations and bacterial density in Vietnam’s waters are high.

According to this report, among Vietnam’s foodstuffs exported to Europe in 2005 - 2016, biological hazards are most common and most are caused by bacteria. The next are chemical and antibiotic residues. Chemical residues are commonly found in canned foods; antibiotic residues are found in fish; and biological hazards are found in fish, herbs and spices; agrochemicals are found in fruits and vegetables; and mycotoxins are found in nuts and grains.

In trade with South Korea, after nearly two years of executing the Vietnam - Korea Free Trade Agreement, Vietnamese goods still find it difficult to enter into this market due to tightened technical barriers. Many businesses reported that Vietnamese agricultural products are always subject to strict inspections in spite of being granted preferential tariffs. This has thus restricted Vietnamese agricultural products from being imported into South Korea and only a few varieties like dragon fruit, coconut, mango, guava, banana, carrot, broccoli and cabbage can enter it. As for processed fruits and vegetables, suppliers must meet criteria for export certificates issued by South Korea.

Integration is an opportunity for Vietnamese goods, especially advantageous items such as agricultural products and foodstuffs to be exported to major markets. Vietnamese companies’ failure to comply with food safety regulations may be the biggest barrier to their efforts to export agricultural products and foodstuffs to big markets.

According to experts in food supply chains and safety, European markets demand “from farm to fork” food safety. Therefore, sellers must be more active in ensuring food safety. In addition, they care about the responsibility of producers.

In the Report “Vietnam Food Safety Risks Management: Challenges and Opportunities”, WB specialists recommended Vietnam strengthen universal and comprehensive food safety monitoring and surveillance systems; develop an management enforcement system to establish, implement and monitor food safety; propose approaches based on “farm to fork” model to control inputs, farming, processing and retailing.

According to WB experts, supplying safe foodstuffs must be a task of all enterprises, irrespective of their operating scale and their involvement in value chains, from input suppliers and main manufacturers to processors and distributors of foodstuffs, by using appropriate solutions and appropriate technologies.

The government will be responsible for creating an enabling environment for safe foods to be made known, develop a reasonable legal and policy framework/mechanism that allows the private sector to provide safe foods, promote proper solutions and provide reasonable support.

Authorities should also establish and implement a balanced regulatory control system designed to ensure food safety. This includes a network of well-trained food safety inspectors, well-coordinated risk-based food safety surveillance plans, certified private and public laboratories capable of providing accurate test results in a timely manner.

Thu Ha









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