EU-Vietnam trade deal creates positivity

By Keith Nuthall and Mandy Kovacs

- Last updated on GMT

A new EU-Vietnamese free trade agreement could present opportunities for pork and poultry exporters
A new EU-Vietnamese free trade agreement could present opportunities for pork and poultry exporters

Related tags Eu International trade Pork Poultry

The European Union (EU) meat and livestock sector has welcomed the recent EU-Vietnamese free trade agreement. The industry said it could help exporters sell more pork and poultry to this growing emerging market of 84 million people.

Jean-Luc Mériaux, secretary general of the European Livestock and Meat Trades Union (UECBV) said he was happy the deal would scrap nearly all tariffs (over 99% of them) imposed by Vietnam and the EU on their mutual trade, whole removing non-tariff trade barriers as well.

“As, in the case of Vietnam, the EU meat sector has mainly offensive interests, more especially for pork and poultry meat, the agreement should contribute to enhancing the EU exports to that country despite competitors such as the USA,”​ he said.

The EU exported €342 million-worth of live animals and animal products to Vietnam last year (2014) according to EU trade data. These sales have been rising from €279m in 2013, €235m in 2011 and €158m in 2010.

International trade data said the EU in 2013 exported US$25m-worth of meat and edible offal to Vietnam. The EU exported US$1m of fresh or chilled swine and swine offal in 2013, and US$9.6m-worth of fresh, chilled or frozen poultry.

Vietnam currently imposes 15% on salted, dried or smoked bovine animal meat exported from the EU, and 35% on preserved bovine, meat, offal or blood. It charges 10% tariffs on EU exports of pig fat, for instance, 5% on pig’s hair and bristles, 20% on frozen diced chicken, 40% on chicken curry in airtight containers and 30% on chicken extracts and juices.

It also levies 3% duties on EU exports of poultry feed and 20% on EU exports of poultry cages. Under the agreement, most of these will be phased out over seven years, although Vietnamese beef tariffs will be scrapped within three years of the deal’s ratification, and poultry duties and restrictions will take 10 years to remove.

Mériaux warned, however, that the deal needed to be enforced, and this especially applied to non-tariff barriers, such as Vietnamese animal and meat health controls. He noted that, under the deal, Vietnam committed itself to fully implementing World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) standards, and also that EU exports would be treated the same, regardless of the member state exporting meat and livestock.

This means that, in theory, Vietnam will have to recognise the EU approval procedure for the meat businesses cleared to export to Vietnam.

As for Vietnamese exports to Europe, EU tariffs that will be scrapped include 12.8% on Vietnamese exports of high-quality beef and veal in carcases and half-carcases, plus an additional duty of €176.80 per 100kg.

Another duty to go will be €53.60 per 100kg of carcases and half-carcases of pigmeat and €12.90 per 100kg of pig fat. And poultry duties will be removed – for instance €26.20 per 100kg of plucked and gutted chickens.

EU trade data says the EU imported €667m-worth of live animals and animal products from Vietnam; down from €754m in 2010.

According to international trade data, the EU imported US$3.6m of meat and edible meat offal from Vietnam in 2013, up from US$2.6m- and US$2.7m-worth imported in 2012 and 2011 respectively. The agreement may take a year, or even more, to be ratified and come into force.

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