Half a year later, how has the EVFTA increased exports?

VCN- Since it took effect, the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) has had a significant impact on boosting Vietnam's exports to the EU. Notably, thanks to the EVFTA, Vietnam's agricultural products are expected to have more "leverage" to penetrate deeper into the market of Northern European countries - where previously they mainly preferred importing goods from European countries.
Leading markets of Vietnamese seafood imports Leading markets of Vietnamese seafood imports
Fruit and vegetable exports see many positive signs in 2021 Fruit and vegetable exports see many positive signs in 2021
EVFTA pushes up Vietnam’s exports to Sweden EVFTA pushes up Vietnam’s exports to Sweden
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Seafood is one of the typical industries that make good use of opportunities to boost exports from the EVFTA. Photo: N. Thanh

Exports to the EU increase sharply

According to the General Statistics Office (Ministry of Planning and Investment), in the first two months of 2021, the export turnover of goods reached US$48.55 billion, up 23.2% over the same period last year, with nine items reaching an export turnover of over US$1 billion.

In terms of markets, exports to major markets continue to be exploited effectively, especially markets with Free Trade Agreements (FTA) such as the EU, Japan, and South Korea despite the influence of the pandemic. Notably, exports to the EU had a significant increase thanks to the EVFTA. Specifically, Vietnam's exports to the EU in the first two months of this year reached US$6.3 billion, up 22.7% over the same period last year.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnamese enterprises quickly approached and took advantage of the EVFTA's opportunities, resulting in a trade surplus in the first two months of the year with the EU market of US$4 billion, up 36.3% over the same period last year.

Seafood is one of the typical commodities that recorded significant export growth to the EU thanks to the impact of the EVFTA earlier this year. According to the Department of Agricultural Product Processing and Market Development (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development), the seafood export value in the first two months of 2021 reached US$1.01 billion, an increase of 0.7% compared to the same period in 2020. In January, seafood export value increased in most markets. In particular, the EU is one of the markets with a 16% increase in value over the same period last year, reaching US$63.97 million.

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) forecasts that the export in the first two months of the year, seafood export turnover in March 2021 will reach about US$640 million, up 1.5% compared to the same last year. Exports to the US, EU and countries in theComprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will maintain a positive signal thanks to high demand and "leverage" from FTAs such as the EVFTA and CPTPP.

Many opportunities in the Nordic region

In taking advantage of the EVFTA to promote exports, recently the Nordic market has attracted a lot of attention. According to the International Trade Center (ITC), Nordic countries mainly import goods from other European countries. Among the 30 countries with the largest import turnover, Asia has only a few markets such as Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, India, Vietnam, Thailand.

Among ASEAN countries, Vietnam is the biggest partner in this region. Two-way trade turnover has even increased during the pandemic.

In terms of policy and cooperation mechanism, Vietnam is no less favorable than competitors in Asia. The CPTPP, EVFTA and the upcoming Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) have created and will create new competitive advantages for Vietnam in both trade and investment.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, in the future, Nordic countries continue to focus on their resources on recovering the economy after the pandemic, the demand for goods and services is expected to increase sharply after a long time being constrained.

Many forecasts show that the average import-export in 2021 of the Nordic countries will increase by about 5%, while Iceland will increase by about 17%. In particular, the emergence of the investment shifting from China to some other locations, including Vietnam, will also be an opportunity to help Vietnam attract investment and expand market opportunities, including for the Nordic region.

According to Vietnamese Ambassador to Sweden Phan Dang Duong, in the context that EU countries are actively deploying Covid-19 vaccinations, the pandemic is expected to be controlled and measures are gradually reduced. Relaxation and economic recovery, trade returning to normal will create more favorable conditions for increasing exports of Vietnamese goods to the Nordic market.

In 2021, the Vietnam Trade Office in Sweden oriented to research and apply online trade promotion in order to support domestic export enterprises, in which the operation of an English website is one of the solutions to facilitate this series of activities. On March 8, 2021, Vietnamese Ambassador to Sweden, Phan Dang Duong, clicked the button to open the English website of the Trade Office.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Hoang Thuy, Commercial Counselor, Head of Trade of Vietnam in Sweden and Northern Europe, said that the website is mainly intended to inform businesses in Northern Europe about business and investment environment of Vietnam, opportunities brought by EVFTA; Vietnam enterprise database arranged by commodity category for easy search by Nordic enterprises. Notably, the website will be a place to promote businesses and Vietnamese products for free.

“In the short term, the website focuses on promoting six categories of fruit, seafood, rice, coffee, textiles and footwear, which are beneficiaries of the EVFTA. In the future, it will expand to other items when the opportunity arises. In the long term, the Vietnam Trade Office in Sweden wants to develop the website into a trading place for Vietnamese businesses and the Nordic region, not only for trade, but also for investment, taking advantage of the strengths of businesses of the two countries," Ms. Nguyen Thi Hoang Thuy said.

By Thanh Nguyen/Bui Diep

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