Thursday, July 23, 2009

Exporters face more seafood rules

July 23, 2009

HA NOI — Vietnamese seafood exporters will face more barriers as Ukraine enforces stricter regulations on meat imports and meat by-products as of today.

Under the new Ukrainian regulation, goods produced abroad have to be evaluated and given the okay by official Ukrainian agencies before being shipped and sold in the country.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) said that Vietnamese seafood exporters would meet difficulties in exporting goods, because they had not been given much notice about the new rules.

This meant they had little time to adjust production to meet new food hygiene and safety standards.

Before the deadline, National Fisheries Quality Assurance and Veterinary Directorate (Nafiqad)’s deputy director Tran Bich Nga sent a letter on the issue to Pyotr Verbitsky, Ukrainian Chief State Veterinary Inspector.

According to the letter, Nafiqad is pursuing discussions with a Ukrainian partner to set up a joint co-ordination mechanism to monitor imports and exports of seafood between the two countries.
Nafiqad also invited officials from the State Committee for Veterinary Medicine of the Ministry of Agricultural Policy of Ukraine to come to Viet Nam to examine the performance of Vietnamese seafood processors who intend to export their products to Ukraine.

In the interim, Viet Nam asked the Ukraine to allow its seafood exporters to continue sending shipments into the country if they passed food safety and hygiene requirements imposed by the market.

However, the ministry said, so far, it had yet received any reply from their Ukrainian partner about the proposal.

Nafiqad had also asked the Ukraine to provide a full account of its guidelines relating to food safety and quarantine of imported and exported seafood to facilitate possible co-ordination between the two sides on the issue.

MARD said Vietnamese seafood exports had to face similar obstacles in the US and Russia. Vietnamese tra catfish exports to the US would be managed strictly under the Farm Bill, an agricultural law that is about to come into effect. Exports must also reach new safety standards when entering Russia from May.

Keeping close eye
The directorate said Vietnamese agencies kept a close eye on the safety and hygiene of imported and exported seafood, and the country had signed bilateral co-operation agreements to this effect with Canada, South Korea, China, Russia, Cambodia and Thailand.

By the end of June, licences had been granted to 300 Vietnamese seafood exporters to export products to the EU, 442 to South Korea, 444 to China, 238 to Canada and 30 for Russia.
In the first half of this year, Viet Nam earned nearly US$1.7 billion from seafood, with $375 million coming from the EU, the national largest seafood export market, which accounted for 26 per cent of Viet Nam’s seafood earnings. — VNS