Food Safety Control System for Vietnamese Catfish is Equivalent to The United State (09-12-2019)

After more than three years of efforts to negotiate and improve the system of legislative documents, on October 31st, the US Department of Agriculture officially announced the decision to recognize the equivalent of a food safety control system for Vietnam's catfish exports to the United States. This is the premise for firmly developing catfish trade in the coming time.
Food Safety Control System for Vietnamese Catfish is Equivalent to The United State

On November 4th, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) held a meeting around this content. Speaking at the meeting, Mr. Phung Duc Tien - Deputy Minister of MARD said that the US is the largest and most difficult market for food safety. Equally recognized by the US is an important condition to help boost the export of catfish to the US.

According to the Farm Bill 2014 which was concretized by the catfish inspection program (Siluriformes) of the US Department of Agriculture in March 2016 with 18 transition months, effective from September  2017. In order to continue exporting catfish to the US, Vietnam must develop and organize a food safety control system equivalent to the US in 3 groups of criteria. The first is the legal system in quality control, food safety. The second is the law enforcement capacity of the competent authority. The third is the conditions to ensure hygiene, food safety in the whole process from breeding, transporting, preliminary processing, processing and exporting catfish to the US.

Over the past 3 years, Vietnam has made great efforts to perfect the system of legal documents; organize propaganda, training for millions of farmer on hygienic and food safety conditions in the whole process from seed production, rearing, transportation, preliminary processing, processing and export catfish into US; conducting negotiations and assessments on food safety control systems in Vietnam’s catfish production, and export. As a result, on October 31st, the US Department of Agriculture officially announced its decision to recognize the equivalent of Vietnam's catfish food safety control system to export to this country.

Mr. Nguyen Nhu Tiep - Director of the National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (Nafiqad-MARD) said that meeting requirements of the US's equivalent recognition will contribute to a dramatic shift in catfish farming from small production to large scale production on the basis of systematic control from the seed to the final product, at the same time paving the way for the sustainable development of the fisheries sector.

In addition, Vietnam has been added more businesses registering to export catfish to the US (currently 13 enterprises) and more importantly creating trust for importers from the US. This will help to increase catfish production and export value in this market in the last months of 2019.

Another good sign is that in early October, the US Department of Commerce (DOC) announced the preliminary decision of the 15th anti-dumping duty review (POR15) for the period from August 1st 2017 to July 31st 2018 for Vietnam's catfish. Accordingly, Vinh Hoan company and Bien Dong company maintain the tax rate of 0 USD per kg; Two (2) businesses will be considered to apply the tax rate of 0 USD per kg are NTSF Seafood Joint Stock Company and Can Tho Seafood Import Export Joint Stock Company - CASEAMEX. Therefore, in the near future, 4 Vietnamese enterprises will be allowed to export catfish to the US with the tax rate of 0 USD per kg.

Although receiving a lot of positive information, however, to ensure a stable and sustainable export to the US or many other markets, the catfish industry has a lot of work to do.

According to regulations, after being recognized as equivalent, the US Department of Agriculture continues to supervise and periodically re-inspect the food safety control system of Vietnam’s catfish production and business chain. Therefore, in order to maintain the recognition and expansion of exports to the US and other markets, Vietnam needs to continue reviewing and implementing the legal policy system and well organizing the implementation of the controlling food safety in producing and trading catfish for domestic consumption and export.

Notably, Vietnamese catfish always kept "alone a market" in the past time. Now, this situation has changed. Many markets have stepped up farming catfish, even possibly becoming a "formidable" competitor in the international market in the near future.

According to MARD, Vietnam currently has 1.3 million tons of catfish, India also has 650,000 tons, Bangladesh 450,000 tons, Indonesia 110,000 tons. Even China which is leading catfish export market has also raised and harvested 10,000 tons of catfish in Hai Nam Island.

Therefore, it is required that the catfish industry must change towards positive improvements from farming, processing, exporting, production and processing in close association with market development in order to improve its competitive forces and market expansion.

At present, the area is about 5,000 hectares, but Catfish export turnover has reached 1.8 billion USD and still has many potentials and potential for development. However, Mr. Nguyen Xuan Cuong - Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development acknowledged that Vietnam's catfish industry still has some uneasy points, some weak points, the value chain linkage is not tight, and the competitiveness is not high. Therefore, it is required that localities developing catfish products need to consider the breeding stage as the core stage. Along with that, the locality must strengthen the linkage in production, consumption, application of advanced technology, added value, etc. to take advantage of the US recognition of the equivalent of food safety control system. Vietnam's catfish exports to develop and expand markets.

Le Mai

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