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VCN - The ban will come into force on May 15, 2017 to protect consumers' health of United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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In the context where the UAE government is tightening its management of food safety for imported fruits and vegetables, this is an opportunity for Vietnam.
On May 8, 2017, the Africa, Western and South Asia Markets Department (Ministry of Industry and Trade) released the information that the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) of United Arab Emirates (UAE) has issued the Ban on the import of some certain vegetables and fruits from five Middle Eastern countries including Egypt, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon and Yemen due to excessive pesticide residues. This ban will come into effect on May 15, 2017, to protect the health of UAE consumers. Accordingly, the vegetables and fruits banned from imports are Bell peppers from Egypt; Head cabbage, Chinese cabbage, lettuce, pumpkin, beans and eggplant from Jordan; Apples from Lebanon; Melons, carrots and watercress from Oman; and all kinds of fruits from Yemen.
The ministry also requires competent ministries of the five countries to comply with the UAE food safety standards, and the ban will be abandoned when the food safety requirements are satisfied and these five countries must provide documents to prove that their vegetables and fruits do not contain excessive pesticide residues.
According to the Africa, West Asia and South Asia Market Department, the UEA’s ban will push the price of vegetables and fruits in UAE to the high level in the short time due to the limitation on supply sources for the coming Ramadan Festival by the end of May. Among above countries, Egypt and Jordan was ranked at No. 5 and No. 6 of UAE’s largest vegetable exporters with turnover of $ US 78 million and $ US 72 million (as the International Trade Centre’s statistics) Due to unfavorable natural and climate conditions for agricultural production, the UAE relies on imports to meet domestic demand. According to ITC statistics, the UAE’s import turnover of this commodity group in 2014 was near $ US 3.2 billion, in 2015 was about $ US 2.6 billion and in 2016 was over $ US 2.5 billion.
In particular, UAE imports fruits like apple, pear, citrus fruits and fresh vegetables from about 20 countries, mainly from US, India, citrus fruits. Goods imported to UAE is to provide not only the UAE people but also tourists and immigrants.
According to the Vietnam Customs statistics, Vietnam's exports of vegetables and fruits to the UAE only reached $US 14.2 million in 2014, $ US16.2 million in 2015 and $ US 22.8 million in 2016. Although the growth rate is stronger than previous years, the Vietnam’s export turnover still accounts for a negligible proportion of the UAE’s total import value of this group. In the recent years, the Embassy of Vietnam in the UAE has coordinated with the UAE’s competent units and enterprises of the two countries have organized events to promote Vietnamese agricultural products and fruits at the UAE supermarkets such as litchi's day in the UAE, Vietnam's agricultural products week in the UAE have attracted the attention of UAE consumers.
At present, Vietnamese agricultural products and fruits have accessed to some UAE supermarkets, such as banana, dragon fruit, rambutan, longan, litchi, mangosteen, sapodilla, mango and guava are being sold in supermarkets at good prices and popular with UAE consumers.
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In the context where the UAE’s government is tightening the management of food safety for imported fruits and vegetables, the exporting enterprises doing business or are intending to approach the UAE market should pay attention to the UAE food safety standards, especially pesticide residue problems. This is not only a challenge and a good opportunity for Vietnam's vegetable and fruit products to continue to affirm its position in the UAE market
By Phan Thu/ Huyen Trang