Great opportunity for Vietnamese farm exports to UK
The nation has a great opportunity to export rice, fruits, along with other agricultural products to the UK, particularly as it is one of the 10 largest markets in the world with an annual food import turnover of up to US$65.5 billion.
This viewed was shared by delegates during a webinar held on September 28 regarding trade promotion of agricultural products between the nation and the UK which was organised by the Embassy of Vietnam in the UK.
The event featured the participation of representatives of the UK-ASEAN Business Council (UKABC), the Southeast Asia Trade Facilitation Organization (SEATFO), distribution businesses in the UK, along with more than 100 Vietnamese farm exporting businesses.
The webinar ran with the title of "Discovering tropical specialties" and aimed to discuss the potential, approach, requirements, and standards of the UK market for imported agricultural products. This is along with introducing Vietnamese agricultural products through numerous video clips on agricultural production in the country according to global GAP standards.
British experts and businesses also answered questions put forward by Vietnamese exporters about the UK market.
As part of his remarks at the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK Nguyen Hoang Long said that the country and the UK anticipate that bilateral trade will enjoy remarkable development following the signing of the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) in December, 2020.
According to the Vietnamese diplomat, both nations boast great potential for further development as farm produce remains a key export product of Vietnam, while the UK is a large market for this product. This is especially true when the country is aiming to export quality agricultural products instead of quantity and build a global brand of agricultural products.
Giving advice to Vietnamese exporters, Ian Gibbons, CEO of the UKABC, said that an important factor for exports to the UK is that businesses conduct thorough market research as a means of ensuring their products are suitable and competitive in the market.
He also pointed out the importance of building trust with UK partners through developing long-term and sustainable relationships. In addition, exporters to the UK must ensure the transparency of their businesses and products, through building websites, providing information about products, production lines, output, and trading partners.
Once trust and a reputation has been built with British partners, then exports to this market will be favourable, he added.
John Gavin, director of SEATFO, suggested that firms ensure high-quality products to meet market requirements, provide good customer service and on-time delivery, while also ensuring transparency with customers.
Furthermore, British businesses also value partners who pay close attention to environmental protection, participate in social activities, and follow good governance, he added.
According to Nguyen Canh Cuong, Vietnam Trade Counselor in the UK, a major challenge for Vietnamese businesses when accessing the UK market is the lack of global GAP standards, along with a lack of a marketing strategy that is capable of meeting the expectations of UK distributors and consumers.
During the 2010 to 2019 period, bilateral trade between the two countries tripled from US$2.19 billion in 2010 to US$6.61 billion in 2019. In 2020, amid COVID-19 outbreaks disrupting the global trade system, the export value of goods from the Vietnamese market to the UK still reached roughly US$5 billion.
During the first half of the year following the UKVFTA coming into force, the bilateral trade turnover between both sides enjoyed a spectacular breakthrough with a total value of US$3.3 billion, up 28% over the same period last year. Of the figure, exports from the Vietnamese hit close to US$ 2.9 billion, an increase of 29%, despite the unpredictable developments caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moving forward, there remains plenty of room for trade promotion between the two nations, with the country boasting huge potential for the production of agricultural products and tropical fruits.
Over the last three years, the total export value of Vietnamese agricultural products had always reached over US$40 billion annually, with these items being exported to fastidious markets such as the UK, the EU, the United States, and Japan.
With 94% of a total of 547 tariff lines on agricultural products being eliminated when the UKVFTA takes effect, Vietnamese agricultural products have plenty of great opportunities for exports to the UK market, including products with strengths such as rice, bananas, mangos, litchis, longans, rambutan, and dragon fruit.