Consumers in the UK have been increasingly keen on Vietnam’s rice, especially after ST25 was honored as the best rice variety in the world in 2019, Nguyen Canh Cuong, trade counselor at the Vietnamese Embassy in the UK, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
UK companies have paid much attention to Vietnam’s rice due to a higher demand in their country and incentives in the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA).
In particular, the UK has waived the import tariff on Vietnam’s fragrant rice instead of imposing a 17.4-percent tax rate as earlier.
Vietnam’s rice value on the rise
According to statistics from the Vietnam Trade Office in the UK, the European country’s rice imports from Vietnam rose in 2020 and 2021.
In 2020, before the UKVFTA took effect, Vietnam’s rice exports to the UK surged to some 3,400 metric tons worth US$2.67 million from nearly 1,300 metric tons in the previous year.
Vietnam’s rice exports to the UK fell 20 percent in volume but inched up four percent year on year in value to some $2.8 million due to a rice price hike.
Trade counselor Cuong said that Vietnam ranks 15th among the largest exporters of rice to the UK with a modest 0.42-percent market share.
“However, Vietnam’s potential to export rice to the UK is great thanks to the community of 100,000 Vietnamese people there and preferential tax policies in the UKVFTA,” the trade counselor affirmed.
The Vietnam Trade Office in the UK has held many online consulting programs on agriculture product export with the participation of many experts for Vietnamese enterprises.
The trade office has also coordinated with business associations, the community of Vietnamese people and supermarkets owned by Vietnamese people in the UK to introduce Vietnamese goods and call on Vietnamese consumers there to prioritize Vietnamese commodities.
|Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien. Photo: Chi Tue / Tuoi Tre|
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien told Tuoi Tre that thanks to the UKVFTA, bilateral trade between the two countries has grown positively.
He cited data of the General Department of Vietnam Customs as saying that the two countries’ bilateral trade reached over $8 billion last year.
Tien added that Vietnam has advantages in shipping agro-forestry-fishery products to the UK as under the UKVFTA, 94 percent of the 547 tax tariff lines are exempted.
As a result, Vietnam’s agro-forestry-fishery exports to the UK totaled nearly $1 billion in 2022, up 25 percent over 2021.
The UK is among the largest importing markets of Vietnam’s seafood, wood, cashew nuts, coffee, and rice, among others.
The UK will consider opening its market to Vietnam’s processed pork, poultry meat, eggs, milk and dairy products, Deputy Minister Tien informed.
Meanwhile, the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will weigh importing the UK’s pork and chicken.
Thus, the potential to leverage the UKVFTA is huge.
According to Tien, the UK government has adopted the 'Global Britain' strategy to boost exports.
This country is also willing to open its market in a 'give and take' manner to its foreign partners through free trade deals.
In addition, the UK is determined to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), to which Vietnam is party.
It means that the UK will import many products of 11 members of the CPTPP in a bid to access markets for its export products.
At the time, Vietnamese products in the UK will face fierce competition from other members of the CPTPP.
“Therefore, Vietnamese enterprises need to quickly take advantage of opportunities ushered in by the UKVFTA. Their production should meet standards of the UK and Europe as a whole," Tien noted.
“They need to take the initiative in preservation technology and seaborne farm produce transport.”
|Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh (R) and UK Minister of International Trade Greg Hands pose for a photo at a meeting in Hanoi on February 1, 2022. Photo: British Embassy in Hanoi|
Vietnam makes progress in value chains: UK official
In an interview with Tuoi Tre early this month, UK Minister of International Trade Greg Hands said enterprises of the two countries have effectively taken advantage of the UKVFTA.
“I have heard no UK enterprise complains about the agreement. They have effectively taken advantage of it and understood how it works,” Hands noted.
Besides rice, many made-in-Vietnam agricultural, electronic, and footwear products have been sold to the UK.
“Vietnam has made progress in value chains with more complicated and hi-tech products and services being present in the UK,” Hands added.
He said 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam-UK diplomatic relations.
The two sides have built a strong cooperation foundation in many sectors, such as trade, education, financial services, food, and beverages.
Therefore, he believed that Vietnam and the UK will have another 50 years of stronger relation development.
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