Opportunities to Boost Agricultural and Aquatic Exports to Russia

10:53:59 AM | 11/9/2021

Currently, Vietnam is the only strategic partner of the Russian Federation in Southeast Asia. The high level of political relations and good relations is a favorable condition for bilateral economic, trade and investment relations to develop strongly. In addition, the Vietnam - EAEU Free Trade Agreement (VN-EAEU FTA), effective from October 2016, is considered a solid foundation for promoting trade and investment relations between the two countries.

Potential for agricultural and aquatic products

At an online training workshop on agricultural and aquatic exports to Russia and Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) jointly organized by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Mr. Tsygankov Kirill, Trade Advisor, representative of the Russian Trade Representative Office in Vietnam, said that taking promising market segments for Vietnamese exports into account, great opportunities can be found in agricultural exports such as fresh and canned vegetables, coffee, seafood, apparels, wooden furniture, especially outdoor rattan tables and chairs which are popular in Russia.

Another promising segment is seafood like crayfish, lobster, tuna, Japanese amberjack (Seriola quinqueradiata), Japanese mackerel (Scomberomorus) and squid. These items do not compete with Russian goods in the domestic market but they complement northern cold-water seafood. These items should be shipped by sea in refrigerated containers.

“Vietnam has a great opportunity to increase agricultural and aquatic exports. We call on Vietnamese friends to be more active in promoting their goods to the Russian market,” he said.

Mr. Duong Hoang Minh, Commercial Counselor of Vietnam in Russia, said that Russia is the largest import market for agricultural and aquatic products in Eastern Europe. According to data from Russia, since VN-EAEU FTA to which Russia is a signatory took effect in October 2016, the export value of Vietnam’s agricultural and aquatic products to Russia increased significantly but it still accounted for a modest market share in the Russian market.

Vietnam's major exports include agricultural products like coffee, cashew nut, pepper, dried mango (a promising new product), fresh mango, banana, pomelo, lemongrass and seafood like fish fillet, shrimp, dried fish, smoked fish and squid.

Good marketing will result in good export opportunities

The Eurasian Economic Union recently excluded 76 countries (including many competitors to Vietnam’s agricultural and aquatic exports in Russian and EAEU markets such as China, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru) from the list of countries entitled to generalized systems of preferences (GSP), he said. Thus, Vietnamese exports to the EAEU and Russia will enjoy preferential tax tariffs as committed in the VN-EAEU FTA while imports from other countries into these markets will be subject to ordinary duties (previously 75% of standard duties).

To make the most of the FTA's incentives in this context, according to Mr. Minh, Vietnamese businesses need to actively survey the market, visit/participate in exhibitions in Russia, such as World Food Moscow (held in September every year) and Prodexpo (February every year) for agricultural products and foods to understand the market and consumer trends, look for potential customers. Tea, agricultural products, fruits, seafood and foods should be displayed at these exhibitions.

In particular, the government should have policies to encourage cooperatives and enterprises to expand their production scale and ensure product quality, invest in post-harvest preservation technology from harvesting, preserving, transporting, consuming, packaging, and designs to match market tastes. Besides, it is necessary to expand the product range with beautiful designs that fit consumer tastes.

By Anh Mai, Vietnam Business Forum