In the first quarter of 2021, exports of goods to many markets participating in FTAs such as the EU-Vietnam FTA (EVFTA), the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the UK-Vietnam FTA (UKVFTA) have recorded a sharp increase, facilitating exports in the future.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, since the EVFTA took effect in August 2020, the growth of exports to the EU has gradually improved and increased by 18% in the first three months of 2021.
Vietnam's export turnover to the partners in the CPTPP also reached a high growth rate in the first three months of 2021. Canada increased by 13.7%; Australia increased by 17%; Chile increased by 25.6%; Mexico increased by 12.7%, and New Zealand increased by 35.1%. Besides, exports to the UK also increased by 22.1% in the first three months of this year.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the new-generation FTAs such as the CPTPP, the EVFTA, and the UKVFTA will create favourable conditions for Vietnamese goods to enter the partners’ market with more preferential tariffs and commitments to minimise barriers.
However, the ministry also mentioned some difficulties, challenges, and analysed carefully the export of agricultural, forestry and fishery. Recently, Vietnam's agricultural and fishery export markets have changed food safety certification regulations.
On this issue, Ngo Hong Phong, Deputy Director of the National Agro-Forestry and Fisheries Quality Control Department (Nafiqad), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said although the quality of exported seafood has significantly improved, there are returned seafood shipments, especially from China - an important market for Vietnam.
Up to 15 out of 40 violated lots were returned, while in 2020, the number of violated lots returned was six out of 14 lots.
China warned some of Vietnam's frozen shrimp and heat treated shrimp shipments were positive for infectious hypodermal and hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHHNV), and white spot syndrome virus (WSSV).
"The Nafiqad has sent a written request to the Chinese quarantine agency to grant a scientific and legal basis for the warning of the IHHNV and the WSSV for heat treated shrimp products; and evidence of risk assessment for warnings of the IHHNV and the WSSV diseases for frozen shrimp products that have not been peeled and have had the head removed,” said Phong.
In addition to China, the Ministry of Industry and Trade mentioned some import markets have changed regulations on imported food safety certification, such as: South Korea requires exporters to certify aquatic products are not infected with the div1 virus, anabas virus, necrotising hepatitis virus, salmonid alphavirus and acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease. This regulation will apply from August 1, 2021.
For Australia, undercooked shrimp products exported to this country must be inspected and graded at a processing facility certified and controlled by the authority of the exporting country; there must be no signs of illness; and each batch of shrimp produced (post-processing) has to be sampled and tested negative for white spot syndrome virus, as well as yellow head virus.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has determined in the following months, the key solution to promote exports of goods will be to consolidate and expand export markets, make the most of advantages from existing FTAs; diversify export and import markets, especially small and niche markets; and diversify the structure of export products, as well as improve the competitiveness of export products and develop brands.
In the first quarter of 2021, export turnover was estimated at US$77.34 billion, up 22% over the same period last year.
Regarding products, export turnover of the agricultural, forestry and fishery groups in the first three months of the year was estimated at US$5.97 billion, up 6.6% from the same period in 2020, accounting for 7.73% of total export turnover.
The export turnover of industrial products mainly contributed to the overall growth rate of export activities in the first quarter of 2021 as it reached US$67.39 billion, up 24.8% compared to the first quarter of 2020, accounting for 87.13% of the total export turnover.
Export turnover of fuel and mineral products in the first quarter of 2021 decreased sharply by 47.3% compared to the same period in 2020 with the decrease mainly in crude oil and petroleum (down 54% and 50%, respectively).
Regarding commodity export markets in the first quarter of 2021, the US was Vietnam's largest export market with a turnover of US$21.2 billion, up 32.8% over the same period last year; followed by China with US$12.5 billion, up 34.3%; and the EU market reached US$9.9 billion, up 18%; ASEAN market reached US$6.7 billion, up 5.7%; South Korea reached US$5 billion, up 6.4%; and Japan reached US$4.9 billion, down 1.5%.
Key words: exports, EVFTA, CPTPP, UKVFTA, export turnover, sharp increase