The Ministry of Industry and Trade: Strengthening support for agricultural and food businesses to overcome non-tariff barriers

Many businesses importing and exporting agricultural products and foods of Vietnam are facing difficulties due to non-tariff barriers in accessing the market. In order to support businesses, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has been implementing many programs of consultancy, training, etc. to help Vietnamese enterprises meet international standards and increase added value for exports.

40% of Vietnamese businesses face non-tariff barriers

At the 2019 Vietnam International Food Industry Conference (Vietnam Food Forum) held on November 13, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai – said that today, in the context of more and more bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements between Vietnam and countries that are signed and put into practice, exporting enterprises will have more opportunities to expand their markets, enhance competitive advantage. However, the environment of international economic integration requires Vietnamese businesses to improve the quality and added value of their products, proactively respond, overcome trade barriers, and meet the strict standards of the international market.

Regarding the trend of increasing non-tariff barriers in the international market, Mr. Vianney Lesaffre, NTM Project Representative of the International Trade Center (ITC) – said that non-tariff measures related to standards or finance and customs procedures are increasingly being launched on the world market. In particular, SPS (Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measure), TBT (Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement) are non-tariff barriers currently applied in the world.

Facing increasing barriers, Mr. Vianney Lesaffre said that ITC is working with the Ministry of Industry and Trade to minimize tariffs and expand markets. Accordingly, step 1 is to receive feedback from businesses, thereby consulting and giving warnings that businesses will face. Currently, the project has collected 1,638 Vietnamese enterprises’ opinions and they are being analyzed, of which up to 40% of agricultural enterprises having problems with import and export barriers. The records also show that up to 63% of enterprises responded that the procedural barrier prevented the flow of import and export, etc.

“At the beginning of next year, we will finish step 1 and move on to step 2 to provide consultations and warning systems for Vietnamese businesses. For support, enterprises, especially small and medium enterprises, can participate in advanced training courses on dealing with non-tariff barriers,” added Mr. Vianney Lesaffre.

Strengthen support businesses to overcome barriers

In addition to the above support, Ms. Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy, Acting Director of the Trade Promotion Information Technology Application Center (INTEC) under the Trade Promotion Department – said that the Trade Promotion Department and ITC have built Commercial project for sustainable development – T4SD. Accordingly, the project will support and consult businesses to access voluntary sustainability standards and to green finance. Currently the pilot model of the project has been implemented since September 2019 with training for 4 experts and there are 20 enterprises of pepper, fruit, green tea, etc. are being supported for consultancy. It is expected that by 2020, the project will summarize and evaluate the efficiency to expand it for more businesses to access.

In addition, Mr. Le Hong Minh – Director of Investment Promotion for Industry and Trade Development Center (under the Trade Promotion Department) – said that Trade Promotion Department is continuing to cooperate with Amazon Global Selling to assist Vietnamese small and medium enterprises to participate in the global distribution channels. This program focuses on training global sales skills on Amazon for businesses to promote the export of goods. So far, many businesses have made good use of this platform and brought goods to many big markets like the US, EU, etc. via Amazon.

Along with the support from the Ministry of Industry and Trade, many people said that businesses still had to improve the quality of their products by meeting animal and plant quarantine standards, investing in raw material areas as well as strictly controling food safety issues. Because only when doing these issues well, Vietnamese goods will create trust with consumers and gain a foothold in the international market.

Duong Nghia

Source: Vinanet