a55555.net(www.a55555.net):Avoiding trade and legal disputes with the UK


HANOI: Vietnamese businesses must stay vigilant and do their homework to avoid trade and legal disputes in exporting to the United Kingdom to take full advantage of the United Kingdom-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA), which officially went into effect last May, say industry experts and policymakers.

The agreement was intended to provide both sides with the same trade benefits under the previously signed European Union (EU)-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) as the UK has left the EU.

UKVFTA aims to go even further than the EVFTA to boost trade between Vietnam and the UK with 65% of all tariffs having been removed so far.

In the next six years, the agreement was to remove up to 99.2% of all tariffs on Vietnamese exports, with the South-East Asian country to remove 48.5% of all tariffs on UK products in return.

Early signs have shown a positive effect on bilateral trade with Vietnamese exports experiencing a 16.4% boost at US$5.76bil (RM26.3bil) compared to figures recorded in the same period before the agreement went into effect.

Vietnamese agricultural products, in particular, have seen the strongest gain with a 16% increase compared to the previous year, reaching over US$230mil (RM1.05bil).

The trade agreement has provided Vietnamese products with a competitive edge in the UK market over competitors who have yet to sign a trade agreement with the kingdom.

Key Vietnamese exports to the UK included seafood, agricultural products, textile, footwear, wood furniture and handicraft.




The UK is considered a major target for Vietnamese exporters with a large margin for growth. The kingdom, prior to Brexit, was Vietnam’s third largest trading partner within the EU.

According to data, the UK imported US$700bil (RM3.21 trillion) worth of products in 2019.

Of which, Vietnamese products only accounted for US$6bil (RM27.5bil) with key exports including textile, footwear, wooden furniture and rice.

Vietnam remained the world’s top producer of some of the UK’s major imports including cashew, pepper and coffee.

The UK imported 23,000 tonnes of cashew, and 14,000 tonnes of pepper and last year Vietnam took the lion’s share with 16,000 tonnes of cashew worth US$92mil (RM421.4mil) and more than 5,600 tonnes of pepper worth US$48mil (RM220mil).

However, Vietnamese coffee and rice exporters have not been able to take advantage of improved bilateral trade with Vietnamese rice and coffee only accounting for 0.45% and little under 5% of the UK’s imports, respectively.

Experts said a major hurdle for Vietnamese agricultural produce has been quality.

The UK is and will remain a market with the highest standards when it comes to quality and safety.

Vietnamese exporters must first acquire either Global Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) or Euro GAP along with a host of other internationally recognised quality standards before they may attempt to enter the UK market.