Tariffs to go on hundreds of Vietnam farm products by 2018

Vietnam has signed seven free trade agreements with multi-lateral, regional and bilateral partners, with hundreds of tariffs on farm produce to be removed by 2018.

Under the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), 1,434 of 1,539 tariffs will be reduced to zero this year.

By 2018, most of the 149 tariffs on wood and wood products will go.

Tariffs will be removed under a range of trade agreements, including the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA), the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement, the ASEAN-India Free Trade Area (AIFTA) and the Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (VJEPA).

Tran Kim Long, director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) department of international cooperation, said integration helps foster exports of farm produce, push up science and technology application and improves food safety and hygiene and product quality.

Long said the integration has resulted in several challenges, including fierce competition and narrowed production of some industries.

Luong Hoang Thai, director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s multi-lateral trade policies department, said that this year the government of Vietnam is focusing on negotiations for three major trade agreements , including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement and a free-trade agreement with the Custom Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan (VCUFTA).

“After the WTO accession, we’ve realised a changing integration trend in the world -- switching from multi-lateral integration into regional and bilateral integration,” Thai said. “Vietnam is negotiating proactively instead of defensively in order to find export markets for farm produce.”