Global Agriculture

Room remains for Vietnam’s farm products exports to Italy

30 August 2021, China: There remains room for Vietnamese enterprises to promote their exports of farm produce such as rice and seafood to Italy besides other export items, according to the Vietnamese Trade Office in Italy.

Italy is currently Vietnam’s fourth-largest trading partner in the EU behind only the Netherlands, Germany and France while Vietnam is Italy’s largest trading partner in the ASEAN with bilateral trade turnover continuously increasing over the years, the office said.

Over the 11 months since the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) officially took effect (from August 2020 to the end of June 2021), Vietnam’s export turnover to Italy reached 7.8 billion USD, up 22.8 percent over the same period before the effectiveness of the EVFTA (from August 2019 to the end of June 2020).

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In the first half of 2021 alone, two-way trade saw a yearly rise of 29.3 percent to hit 2.29 billion USD. Of which, Vietnam exported 1.5 billion USD worth of goods to Italy, up 32 percent over the same period last year while its imports from the market topped 759 million USD, up 25 percent year-on-year.

Vietnamese major export staples to the Italian market included computers, electronics and parts, phones and components, machinery, spare parts, seafood, coffee, textiles and garments and footwear.

Notably, Vietnam is the leading provider of peeled cashew nuts for Italy, accounting for about 60-70 percent of the country’s total cashew imports.

However, the volume of rice Italy imported from Vietnam is still lower than that of other countries, the office noted.

For example, Italy imported only 7,000 tonnes of Vietnamese rice for a turnover of 5 million USD in 2019, accounting for 3.1 percent of Italy’s rice import market share. Meanwhile, the European country imported 70,000 tonnes of rice from Pakistan for a value of 64 million USD, 19,000 tonnes of rice from Thailand for 21 million USD and 16,000 tonnes of rice from India for 18 million USD.

Despite huge potential available in the market, Vietnamese businesses needed to comply with strict technical standards, regulations on certification and packaging as Italy is a member of the EU bloc, the office warned.

A complicated legal environment and high technical regulations and standards for products related to health or the environment could cause trouble for Vietnamese exporters, it said, adding that harsh competition from foreign rivals in terms of the prices and model of export products was also problematic. 

It suggested the firms study the tastes of Italian consumers and survey their demands for the products they intended to export and learn about the market share of competitors if they wanted to effectively tap into this lucrative market./.