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Agro-forestry-fishery exports to UK overcome barriers

The UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA), effective since May 1, 2021, has created favorable conditions as well as challenges for Vietnamese agro-forestry-fishery exports to this market.

The UKVFTA’s tax reduction commitments benefit many Vietnamese export products, especially agro-forestry-fishery products. It has eliminated taxes for more than 94 percent of the total 547 tariff lines applied to fruit and vegetables. The import tax rate applied to Vietnamese shrimp has also been reduced from 10-20 percent to zero. Many wood products will also be tax-free within the next five years.

agro forestry fishery exports to uk overcome barriers

The UK is one of the top five export markets for Vietnamese seafood and one of the three largest importers of Vietnamese wood products. Cashew nuts, coffee and rice are among traditional Vietnamese exports to the UK. In 2021, Vietnam exported to the UK 34,650 tonnes of coffee worth US$66.16 million. In the first half of 2022, coffee exports increased 180 percent year-on-year.

At a recent workshop on taking advantage of the UKVFTA to tap the potential of the UK market, Consul General of the UK in Ho Chi Minh City Oliver Todd said the UK considers Vietnam an important trading partner in Southeast Asia and believes it can compete with India and Indonesia to become a new agro-forestry-fishery supplier for the UK.

However, Vietnamese agro-forestry-fishery exporters have to meet strict UK requirements. Moreover, the UK will sign FTAs with 19 countries and territories, while at the same time preparing for participation in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, making the UKVFTA less beneficial to Vietnamese businesses. “Although it faces a scarcity of supply, the UK market demands high-quality, low-cost products - this is a hindrance for Vietnamese exporters,” said Nguyen Canh Cuong, Vietnamese Trade Counselor in the UK.

agro forestry fishery exports to uk overcome barriers
Vietnam enjoys advantages in exporting seafood to the UK

To promote Vietnamese farm produce exports to the UK, the Vietnamese Trade Office has organized workshops and online meetings to connect Vietnamese exporters with UK importers. Through such activities, some Vietnamese companies have found opportunities to export fruit and vegetables to the Birmingham Wholesale Market - one of the largest integrated wholesale markets in Europe. Some UK companies also have plans to import Vietnamese products, such as cashew nuts and coconut meat jam.

The Vietnamese Trade Office in the UK provides Vietnamese exporters with updated information about the UK market. Nguyen Canh Cuong said the office will diversify activities to expand access to the UK market for Vietnamese exporters, especially those operating in the agro-forestry-fishery sector.

The UK applies a free trade policy and has high demand for farm produce imports. Vietnamese agro-forestry-fishery exporters should take advantage of the UKVFTA and adopt a strategy to access potential partners for increased exports.

Bao Thoa


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