Farm produce exports to the Republic of Korea, including those from Vietnam, are subject to the East Asian country’s stringent food safety rules which came into effect at the start of 2019.
Vietnam-Korea Free Trade Agreement, coming into effect on December 21 2015, is said to have facilitated the access of Vietnamese goods to the RoK market.
Vietnam Economic Times reported that the Republic of Korea (RoK) had begun imposing its previously announced pesticide Positive List System (PLS) on imported farm produce from January 1, 2019 onwards.
The PLS implementation came as no surprise due to the East Asian country having levied PLS rules on imported tree nuts and tropical fruits since late 2016.
The Vietnam Economic Times cited the PLS rules in showing that imported farm produce may be subject to random testing. There is a list of 370 compounds which could be tested for at ports as required by the RoK side.
Meanwhile, the content of any agricultural pesticide remaining in imported farm produce should not surpass 0.01 ppm if the pesticide is not registered with the RoK government, according to the Korea’s Premium Business News Portal.
In the face of these strict regulations, Vietnamese state management agencies have been intensifying supervision of the domestic use of agricultural chemicals.
They also called on farmers and agricultural firms to gain more knowledge on the RoK’s specific food safety requirements and then to adjust their use of agricultural chemicals in compliance with the new regulations.
Last year, Vietnam raked in US$19.6 billion from exports to the RoK market, a surge of 21.4 per cent on year. In January 2019, the export of Vietnamese goods to the RoK recorded US$1.83 billion in value, as reported by the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
Agro-forestry-aquatic products have emerged as key export staples to the RoK in recent years. Of note, the RoK is Vietnam’s largest importer of cuttlefish and octopus, accounting for 40 per cent of the ASEAN country’s total export of such products, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers.
Stable demand and tariff incentives prescribed in the Vietnam-Korea Free Trade Agreement (VKFTA) have helped to maintain the flow of cuttlefish and octopus shipments. Last year, the RoK spent US$269.8 million on buying cuttlefish and octopus from Vietnam, a year on year hike of 23.7 per cent.
The VKFTA, coming into effect on December 21 2015, is said to have facilitated the access of Vietnamese goods, particularly agro-aquatic products, to the RoK market.
In order to win over RoK buyers, Vietnamese exporters should keep an eye to improving product quality as well as ensuring eye-catching marketing and branding, experts have advised.