The seminar focused on providing information on opportunities and challenges from the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) for enterprises in the F&B industry and how to approach the market using digital platforms.
EVFTA is considered an important highway that directly connects the Vietnamese economy with the EU. With a wide range of commitments, a deep degree of liberalization and high standard commitments, the EVFTA is expected to create both momentum and pressure for businesses in Vietnam to grow faster, become more competitive and overcome the limitations they are facing to access the EU market.
In addition, with the strong development of digital technology, the provision of products and services to consumers has surpassed the limit of both time difference and geographical distance, increasingly meeting the needs of consumers, meeting customer requirements as well as minimizing operating costs. Digital technology creates the foundation for equality between businesses in accessing knowledge and markets.
Ms. Tran Thi Thanh Tam, Director of the SMEs Promotion Center, VCCI, said that in the past two years, despite many changes in the world economic situation such as the COVID-19 pandemic, logistics and supply chain disruption, the EVFTA has quickly brought into play its positive effects, not only as a lever for two-way trade, but also as a preeminent advantage to support the business communities of both sides to maintain and develop their business activities.
In the eight months of 2022, the two-way trade turnover between Vietnam and the EU reached US$42.4 billion, up 14.85% over the same period last year. Most Vietnamese exports to the EU market recorded good growth. The structure of export products also tended to expand and diversify; key commodities achieved impressive growth such as machinery and equipment (up 34.8%), textiles and garments (41.2%), and the turnover of many agricultural, forestry and fishery products also increased at a high rate such as coffee (up 54.4%), seafood (41.9%), vegetables and fruits (18%).
However, the market share of Vietnamese products in Europe is still very modest, Vietnam's exports to this market are only about US$40 billion, accounting for less than 2% of the total import demand of the EU.
Explaining the modest market share of Vietnamese products in Europe, including F&B products, Attorney Dinh Anh Tuyet, Director of IDVN Law Firm, VIAC Arbitrator, said Vietnam's F&B industry had limitations in terms of scale and capital; manual and rudimentary domestic raw material supply systems leading to difficulty in traceability and quality control; not high food quality and safety; raw export products; weak trademarks and brands; poor understanding of the commitments in FTAs and the technical standards and requirements on bio-food of importing member countries.
According to Ms. Tran Thi Thanh Tam, to make better use of the opportunities brought by the EVFTA, businesses must understand regulations and increase market access.