Fruits and seafoods of Vietnam have a huge advantage in the UK market

VCN - Thanks to UKVFTA (Vietnam - UK Free Trade Agreement), Vietnam's seafood become more competitive in the UK market compared to products from China, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, and India. Meanwhile, seafood benefits from less complicated import procedural requirements compared to many other countries.
Vietnam's export of goods to the UK (2013-2023)
Vietnam's export of goods to the UK (2013-2023)

The British Embassy in Hanoi has just published the UK - Vietnam Agricultural Trade Report titled "Connecting the UK and Vietnam in Agriculture, Foods and Drinks". The report highlighted the driving forces behind the UK-Vietnam agricultural trade relationship and identified potential growth opportunities for the two countries' agricultural sectors.

Accordingly, with the rapid expansion of Vietnamese restaurants in the UK, British consumers can also enjoy a variety of Vietnamese agricultural products being sold in supermarkets.

However, Vietnamese agricultural products still only account for a small proportion of imports from Vietnam to the UK, currently accounting for 4.8%. This situation represents a huge and important growth opportunity in the field of agricultural products and related products, which is expected to play a more significant role in shaping trade relations between the UK and Vietnam.

The UKVFTA Agreement officially took effect in May 2021 and catalyzed trade exchange. UKVFTA offers huge opportunities for the agriculture, food, and beverage industries. Most food and beverage product lines are currently benefiting from a gradual reduction and, eventually, complete elimination of tariffs by 2031 (subject to relevant tariff quotas).

According to the report, by 2023, Vietnam's fish and shellfish export value to the UK had reached nearly US$300 million, making seafood the fifth product group among the main export products from Vietnam to England. In January 2023, the People's Committee of Cao Phong district (Hoa Binh province) coordinated with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Hoa Binh province to organize a ceremony for exporting the first shipment of seven tons of Cao Phong oranges to the UK. Next, in May 2023, a shipment of five tons of typical Vietnamese Ri6 durian was distributed to supermarkets across the UK.

The report also stated that although Vietnam's imports currently only account for 1% of the UK's total annual imports of US$700 billion, high purchasing power and the growing Vietnamese community in the UK are the basis foundation for guaranteed future growth. Currently, the UK is Vietnam's third largest trading partner in Europe.

In addition, with the UK joining CPTPP, the accessibility of Vietnamese agricultural products will also improve. The report also emphasizes that in recent years, Vietnam's agricultural sector has been transforming towards reducing emissions, applying organic processes and exploiting renewable energy sources. These environmental protection efforts will resonate with British consumers, who prioritize products with traceability, food safety, environmental friendliness and ethical standards.

Additionally, as Vietnamese cuisine such as pho or banh mi becomes more and more popular with the British, the Vietnamese government and exporters could do better to promote brands that have been recognized and protected only geographical indication for Vietnamese agricultural products, similar to some British food brands such as Scottish whiskey, Ahmad, Twinings, Cadbury and McVitie's that have successfully entered Vietnam.

By Nguyễn Hiền/Thanh Thuy

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