Vietnam saw 90 batches of its agro-fishery exports to Japan returned last year, nearly double the 2018 figure of 54, as most of the returned shipments failed to comply with the importer’s regulations on levels of banned substance residues, food safety and hygiene, among others.
Do Quoc Hung, deputy head of the Asia-Africa Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, revealed these figures at a seminar promoting trade ties between Vietnam and Japan as well as South Korea in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday.
Japan has tightened its standards for imported products in recent years.
Consequently, the number of shipments returned to Vietnam from Japan rose almost twofold to 90 in 2022 from 54 in 2018, Hung said.
Aside from the agro-fishery sector, the textile-garment sector has encountered multiple obstacles as buyers demanded that textile-garment products should be of good quality, various designs and sizes, and eco-friendly nature.
Meanwhile, Vietnamese exporters failed to stay updated on consumer demand, the latest marketing trends, or business strategies adopted by their rivals, leading to a limited volume of Vietnamese items shipped to Japan.
Also, local exporters have yet to fully tap the growth potential of distribution channels, worsened by their weak management capacity, Hung said.
If local exporters manage to overcome these obstacles, there will be more chances for Vietnamese products to penetrate the Japanese market and obtain further growth, Hung stressed.
The trade official said that Japan imported US$23.8 billion worth of textile-garment products last year, of which the value of Vietnamese textile-garment items accounted for a mere 12.1 percent.
Besides, Japan’s footwear imports totaled $44.5 billion, while Vietnam shipped $823 million worth of footwear products to the East Asian nation, equivalent to 18.2 percent, Hung added.
Japan also spends $981 million each year buying fresh and fried bananas, but Vietnam makes up 0.6 percent of the market share, or exports $6.6 million worth of the fruit to Japan.
Meanwhile, Vietnam has many competitive edges over its rivals thanks to the former’s incentives obtained from free trade agreements such as AJCEP, VJEPA, CTTPP, and RCEP.
Hung suggested local exporters and business associations ramp up their efforts to study tariff incentives linked to free trade pacts, seek more potential business partners, investors, and approach more distribution channels.
They also need to enhance their competitiveness and management skills in terms of product origin and input materials.