Analysts said that 2021 would be favourable for shrimp exports, thanks to more orders from abroad. — Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Industry and Trade

The Minh Phu Hau Giang Seafood JSC (in Hau River Industrial Park in Hau Giang Province’s Chau Thanh District) in early January exported its first batch of shrimp in eight containers to the EU, the US, and Japan at prices 4-5 per cent higher than in the Asian market.

Le Van Diep, deputy director of Minh Phu Seafood Group, said the group would continue targeting choosy markets, especially the EU, to take advantage of the recently signed the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

Truong Dinh Hoe, secretary general of the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), said the EVFTA, which took effect last August, has opened up opportunities for shrimp exporters.

Shrimp exports reached US$3.85 billion last year, up 15 per cent year-on-year despite difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to VASEP. Shrimp exports are set to reach $4.4 billion this year, a rise of 15 per cent over 2020.

Analysts said that 2021 would be favourable for shrimp exports, thanks to more orders from abroad.

Also in January, the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Seafood Processing Import - Export JSC (Baseafood) exported its first eight containers of seafood, worth some $700,000, to Canada, the US, Australia and others.

Meanwhile, exports of vegetables and fruits reached only $3.26 billion last year, a drop of 13 per cent year-on-year.

China remains the largest export market of Viet Nam’s vegetables and fruits, accounting for about 56 per cent of market share, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Dang Phuc Nguyen, general secretary of the Viet Nam Fruit and Vegetable Association, said that exports of vegetables and fruits plummeted last year due to a sharp fall of imports from China, a decrease of about 25 per cent compared to 2019.

Vegetables and fruit exports depend heavily on the COVID-19 situation. Nguyen predicted they would reach $3.7 billion this year.

The first batches of seafood exports are a promising sign this year for export prospects, especially the agricultural sector.

Exports of farm produce reached more than $40 billion last year, a record figure.

 

Last year’s export growth of 6.5 per cent can be viewed as a bright spot in the nation’s economic picture, with the growth attributed to the signing of a number of free trade agreements (FTAs).

Though challenges will continue this year due to the pandemic, a target of $42 billion worth of total exports in 2021 has been set by the agricultural sector.

New generation FTAs

Exporters need to study the technical barriers of each country and region regarding product quality standards, labour factors, the environment, and other aspects to respond to FTAs’ requirements in the fastest and most effective manner, experts said.

Do Thang Hai, deputy minister of Industry and Trade, said participation in FTAs ​​has helped the import and export market expand and diversify. FTAs ​​have contributed to boosting the country’s GDP to more than 300 per cent and increased import-export turnover by 350 per cent, he said.

On January 1, the UKVFTA, a bilateral FTA with the UK took effect, bringing the country’s total number of valid FTAs to 15.

To capitalise on market opportunities opened up by these FTAs, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc has directed businesses to prepare to exploit existing and new FTAs to participate more deeply in global value chains.

Viet Nam has trade relations with more than 230 markets, including FTAs with 60 economies.

Viet Nam’s goods exports were valued at $27.7 billion in January, up 0.2 per cent from the previous month, and 50.5 per cent from the same period last year, according to the General Statistics Office of Viet Nam.

Six items enjoyed export revenues exceeding the $1 billion benchmark last month, accounting for nearly 70 per cent of total exports.

Viet Nam had a trade surplus of $1.3 billion in the month, according to the General Statistics Office of Viet Nam. — VNS

List of FTAs joined by Vietnam as of December 2020

List of FTAs joined by Vietnam as of December 2020

List of FTAs joined by Vietnam as of December 2020 in which Vietnam has joined cover most continents. They comprise nearly 60 economies which altogether make up ~90% global GDP.

FTAs set to continue representing driving force for exports next year

FTAs set to continue representing driving force for exports next year

Local businesses have effectively utilised a number of free trade agreements (FTAs) signed by the country, many of which can be considered to add fresh impetus to boosting exports moving into next year, according to insiders.