December 11, 2019 15:38

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Taking advantage of the CPTPP: ‘Do not abandon farmers’

07:55 | 06/07/2019

VCN – The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) officially became effective for Vietnam on January 14, and opened up many opportunities to promote agricultural exports. However, so far, many experts and enterprises say that Vietnamese agriculture can take better advantage of the opportunity.

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The Conference

Improving the quality of export goods

Speaking at the conference ‘CPTPP: Opportunities and Challenges for Vietnamese agricultural products’, which took place on July 2 in Hanoi, Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh said Vietnam has had some strong fields in the agriculture such as coffee exports which rank second; rice exports which rank third; fisheries exports which rank fourth; and timber exports which rank fifth in the world.

FTAs, including the CPTPP and EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), are an opportunity to increase exports, contributing to building more key industries as well as improving the added value of agricultural production fields.

Economic expert Le Xuan Nghia said agriculture and tourism are the spearhead of Vietnam's economy. In the CPTPP in particular and the world market in general, Vietnam is an agricultural country and almost always is a follower in all areas of industrialization, digitization and artificial intelligence.

“To develop the agricultural sector, and take advantages of CPTPP, the Government should prioritize investment in research and development of technological lines, varieties, preservation and cleaning of agricultural products. Thereby, diversifying and improving the quality of export products in accordance with the technical standards of the world market,” said Nghia.

He also said that it needs to strengthen the training of quality human resources from Government structure to enterprises; update the latest scientific and technological knowledge to revive the national foundation with agricultural traditions like Vietnam; strictly control disciplinary factors, supervise production and build a trademark of Vietnamese quality agricultural products.

Regarding e-commerce, economic expert Le Dang Doanh said: "We mentioned Vietnamese agricultural products but had not mentioned digital economy, e-commerce, so it needs to connect one value chain to bring efficiency to exports, making Vietnam a developed country in the field of agricultural exports. Now if exports are going the traditional way, they will be behind the current trend. The opportunity of CPTPP for agricultural products is significant, so e-commerce, digital economy and the quality of Vietnam's agricultural products should be improved, reducing procedures and costs. Thus, our agricultural products can be exported to foreign markets.”

‘Don't abandon farmers’

From an enterprise’s perspective, Mr. Tran Manh Bao - Chairman of Thai Binh Seed Corporation (Thai Binh Seed) said that among 11 CPTPP countries, Vietnam is a country with the lowest agricultural production level. Australia, Japan or New Zealand are countries with high production and livestock production and breeding levels. Vietnam's agriculture also faces great risks related to climate change and weather conditions.

taking advantage of the cptpp do not abandon farmers
Vietnamese agricultural products also have many opportunities to boost exports to CPTPP countries. Photo: Nguyen Thanh

To increase the competitiveness of Vietnamese agricultural products in the CPTPP market, 3 issues need to be changed. The first is the change of agricultural production technology. The processing and preserving system for agricultural products must be synchronized to meet strict technical standards and quality and food hygiene and safety requirements set by the CPTPP.

The second is the focus on linking enterprises with each other ). Thereby promoting specialization and cooperation; forming production and export chains, enhancing competitive advantage in the world market.

The third is the change of the state policies towards stability, efficiency and transparency. The Government should coordinate with enterprises to strengthen the development of a national trademark in a synchronous and strong way.

According to Mr. Nguyen Dang Cuong, Director of Lucavi Co., Ltd.: “With the CPTPP, it is necessary to reconsider Vietnam's agricultural production. For the Red River Delta, the area is very fragmented, enterprises like Lucavi want to export and want to link with each other, they must contact through cooperatives and enterprises specialized in processed agricultural exports. Such dispersion creates many weaknesses in processing.”

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“Farmers and enterprises are expecting the Government as well as ministries and industries to introduce new models and processing technologies for farmers to connect with each other to overcome difficulties. Besides, for integration, the Government must provide farmers with information about integration and not abandon farmers, small business households and small cooperatives. We expect that farmers are allowed to exploit on their own lands,” Cuong said.

With the CPTPP, Vietnam is committed to a common tariff for all CPTPP countries. Accordingly, Vietnam will abolish import duties on 66% of tariff lines as soon as the Agreement takes effect and 86.5% of tariff lines after 3 years from the effective date of the Agreement. The remaining items have a tax reduction schedule of 5-10 years. The CPTPP Agreement opens a new playground with a market size of about 13.5% of global GDP and covers a market of nearly 500 million people.

By Thanh Nguyen/ Huyen Trang