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Promising prospects for exports to Australia

Under the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), Australia will zero out 90 percent of import tariff lines in 2018, and 100 percent by 2020. This will create opportunities for Vietnamese businesses to boost exports to Australia.

promising prospects for exports to australia
The Footscray Market in Melbourne, Australia sells plenty of Vietnamese dragon fruit

VEN - A delegation of officials from the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources recently worked with the Bac Lieu Province People’s Committee to learn about the shrimp production and export chain in the locality. The delegation praised Vietnam’s efforts to create disease free shrimp breeding areas meeting export standards. The Australian side will inspect and recognize these areas if they meet its criteria, enabling Vietnam to export fresh shrimp to Australia and to become the first country to export this product to Australia.

Vietnamese authorities have adopted specific measures to take advantage of opportunities presented by the AANZFTA and the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to boost exports to this potential market. Nguyen Hoang Thuy, Head of the Vietnamese Trade Office in Australia, said for the past three years, Australian businesses had been licensed to import Vietnamese litchis, mangoes and dragon fruit. Australia’s largest rice business, SunRice, currently imports about 50 percent of Japonica rice exported by Vietnam.

Trade between Vietnam and Australia grew significantly in recent years. According to the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade, since the AANZFTA took effect in 2010, bilateral trade has grown an average 10 percent annually and reached more than US$6.46 billion in 2017, a rise of 22.9 percent compared with 2016. This included US$3.23 billion worth of Vietnamese exports to Australia, up 12.5 percent, and US$3.17 billion worth of Vietnamese imports from this market, up 29.7 percent.

Economists believe Vietnamese exports to Australia will expand further in 2018 after the Australian government slashes import tariffs from AANZFTA partner countries.

Nguyen Hoang Thuy said although the value of Vietnamese exports to Australia is not high compared with exports to major markets, such as the US, China and Japan, it will pave the way for Vietnamese goods to access other markets given that Australia is considered one of the world’s most discerning markets.

SunRice imports Vietnamese Japonica rice not only for sale in Australia but also for re-export to other countries. This group intends to invest US$100-200 million in the Vietnamese rice sector, creating opportunities for Vietnamese rice to be sold worldwide under the SunRice brand, Thuy said. However, Australia has very strict regulations in terms of food safety, technical standards and product quality. Therefore, Vietnamese businesses should pay special attention to ensuring their product quality to promote sustainable exports to Australia, she said.

Australia currently is Vietnam’s eight largest export partner and 12th largest import partner. For its part, Vietnam is Australia’s 14th largest trading partner, in terms of both import and export.

Phuong Lan

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