Vietnamese commodities, especially farm products and foodstuffs such as instant noodles, and spring rolls have become quite popular in the EU market.
The EU is now home to many Vietnamese people who like to eat traditional foods.
At the International Food Products and Beverage Exhibition (SIAL 2012) currently taking place in France, Vietnamese ambassador Duong Chi Dung said consumers in developed nations, especially in Europe prefer organic food grown without the use of chemicals. With its potential for natural agricultural production, Vietnam is trying to secure a firm foothold in the EU market. In the first place, its domestic businesses will have to improve product quality, step up sales and marketing campaigns and build brand names.
Participation in SIAL over the years is part of Vietnam’s long-term strategies and orientations to achieve deeper EU market penetration.
Prominent Vietnamese businesses involved in such events are financially supported in covering pavilion costs under the Ministry of Industry and Trade's national trade promotion programme. Some often win contracts on the opening day of the fair, showing that Vietnamese foods and foodstuffs are much appreciated in the EU market.
The EU’s decision to recognize the origin of Phu Quoc fish sauce and the start of negotiations on a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the EU are hopeful signs for Vietnamese enterprises which plan to do business in this market.
Nguyen Thi Nguyet Ha, director of Thanh Ha-Phu Quoc Fish Sauce Company, said that the EU’s recognition of Phu Quoc fish sauce is good news for Vietnam. Anyway, local fish sauce producers should adhere to strict procedures to ensure the best quality of their products for export, especially to the EU market.
Some businesses complained that Vietnamese goods in general are still subject to higher tariffs imposed by the EU. There is high hope that the future free trade agreement will create better conditions for Vietnamese businesses.
In the long-run, they should give priority to building consumer trust within the legal framework of Vietnam-EU trade exchange.
Vu Thai Son, director of Long Son Company, which specializes in processing cashew nuts, told a VOV reporter in France that to hold sway over the EU market, Vietnamese enterprises must grasp the virtue of consumer culture and meet strict requirements for goods delivery on schedule.
There is still a long way to go before a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the EU is reached. However, they are all keen to improve their product quality and achieve deeper EU market penetration sooner or later.