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Catfish industry remains unharmed over new US law

Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 17:14 GMT+7

Despite concerns that the 2014 Farm Bill would affect the exports of Vietnamese catfish into the US, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers asserted on Tuesday that the country’s pangasius industry faces no immediate impact from the new law.

The new farm bill, signed into law by President Barack Obama on February 7, includes new clauses that may directly hinder catfish shipment from Vietnam to the US.

But VASEP general secretary Truong Dinh Hoe said these clauses are still so vague that Vietnamese catfish industry remains unharmed.

Under the 2014 Farm Bill, the task of monitoring catfish exported from Vietnam to the US will be transferred to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) instead of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The new inspector USDA will require Vietnamese catfish exports to meet the same standards as those raised locally by US farmers. This means Vietnamese farmers and exporters must meet all the requirements from farming to processing and packaging as the domestic growers to be licensed to export to the US.

Concerns thus emerged as it may take up to seven years for Vietnamese catfish growers to upgrade their facilities and technology to meet all of the requirements as their US counterparts.

However, Hoe said even the US has yet to have such a set of standards for their domestic catfish growing areas for the Vietnamese to follow suit. And it will take the USDA at least two months to develop and publicize the requirements.

Even so, it will take an additional period of time for these standards to be applied to Vietnam, he added.

The VASEP leader concluded that it is not until next year when the new farm bill actually has an impact on the country’s catfish industry.

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