The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is likened to a "highway" leading Vietnamese goods, including agricultural products, to the large and potential EU market quickly and effectively. However, to go on that "highway", Vietnam is suggested to prepare a "vehicle" that satisfies the European standards.
From August 1, 2020, when EVFTA came into effect, agricultural exports have been considered as the sector with the greatest favourable conditions to enjoy the preferential tariffs, especially agricultural products that are Vietnam’s strength with competitive advantages, such as seafood, vegetables and fruits, rice, coffee, pepper and wooden products.
For example, coffee exported to the EU was previously subjected to tax rates from 7.5-11.5%, but after the door opened thanks to EVFTA, the import tax was completely eliminated, thus opening up great opportunities for Vietnam to increase its competitiveness and boost coffee exports to this potential market.
In addition, EVFTA also offers the advantage that agricultural products will not be restricted in terms of commodities and turnover, so Vietnam can export any vegetables and fruits to the EU, as long as such items are domestically produced and meet the required standards.
However, agricultural experts also pointed out that, Vietnam should not be too excited about tariff reduction. Instead, there should be strategic preparation for more rigorous technical barriers than before to be set up by the import market. According to Nguyen Thi Mai Linh, Head of Office for Import and Export of Agro-Forestry and Fisheries under the Agency of Foreign Trade (Ministry of Industry and Trade), the EU is one of the most selective markets that requires the highest standards in the world, while at the same time, it is also a leading market in combating illegal exploitation of natural resources and is strict on the origin of goods with high quality standards.
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