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    Case Study: Viet Nam's Fisheries Exports to the EC


    International Trade Forum - Issue 4/2009

    The fisheries and aquaculture sectors are significant contributors to the economy of Viet Nam. However, between 1976 and 1992, the Vietnamese fisheries sector experienced rapidly declining outputs due to adverse conditions such as low skills in aquatic management and exploitation, irregular and low-quality supply of raw materials to the processing industry, worn-down production facilities and limited knowledge of modern marketing principles.

    Countering these constraints and deficiencies was crucial for Viet Nam to increase its fisheries and agricultural exports by gaining access to the highly regulated markets of the European Community (EC). Market access to the EC is granted to selected private operators and is the result of fulfilling a number of health and supervisory requirements. The crucial issue is the evaluation of the country's organization and capability to control safety at both the administrative and the enterprise levels.

    In order to do this Viet Nam developed
    a twofold strategy:

    • The creation of a legal and regulatory framework, fitting the legal standards required to access the specific market
    • Private and public sector involvement in investments in processing, facilities, machineries and marketing skills, which are drivers for competitiveness on global markets.

    The national organization responsible for this matter was the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (MoFI). As a first priority, it upgraded the country's domestic sanitary legislation and food processing in line with international standards.

    Capability enhancement in market control, production monitoring and inspections at a governmental level was achieved through both Vietnamese private and governmental efforts and international technical and financial support. The Danish International Development Agency was, and continues to be, the largest bilateral donor in the fishery sector and its support was instrumental in strengthening the Fisheries Administration and upgrading the private sector.

    In the fishery sector, business played an important role in providing inputs of equipment and services as well as upgrading processes and mass organization. The independent professional association VASEAP played a central role in enhancing competence and good practices in the sector. As a non-governmental organization representing business operators exporting 80 per cent of the total seafood exports of Viet Nam, VASEAP helped to improve the sector's relationship with the Government by collecting and reflecting members' opinions on their difficulties with state-managed policies in the sector.

    Viet Nam's eventual success exporting to the EC was the result of a strategy planned and implemented at both government and business levels, partially funded by international aid programmes. The project highlights what it takes for all stakeholders to turn the challenges stemming from non-tariff measures into business opportunities. It underlines the importance of public and private sector collaboration for creating an enabling business environment for economic growth. As a result, the competitiveness of Viet Nam's fisheries exports was significantly improved.

    To see full case studies visit ITC's Business and Trade Policy web page:www.intracen.org/btp