Meat imports, banned substances threaten Vietnam’s livestock industry
VietNamNet Bridge - While Vietnam struggles with scandals about banned substances and high antibiotic residue, meat imports from Europe have begun dominating the domestic market.

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Carlotta Colli, the Italian Consul General in HCMC, said Italian cuisine had become more popular in Vietnam as people want to try something new.

In 2015, Italy exported 24 million euros worth of processed meat products to Vietnam (ham, sausage and bacon), an increase of 10 percent compared with 2014. Many Vietnamese companies import meat from Italy, and chop and pack before selling in Vietnam. Italy is now exporting fresh and frozen beef to Vietnam.

At a meeting with the local press in HCM City in early November, the representatives of EU enterprises, which came to Vietnam to join trade promotion activities, expressed their willingness to find partners to distribute beef, pork and chicken by-products.

Knud Buhl from Danish Agriculture and Food Council noted that Vietnamese like pork (pork accounts for 60 percent of total meat consumed), so Denmark is considering providing meat to Vietnam.

Canada is also trying to bring its beef and pork to Vietnam. According to the Canadian Embassy in Vietnam, from December 2016 to the end of January 2017, Canada’s beef will be served at Yakiniku Buffet and SumoBBQ restaurants belonging to the Golden Gate Group in Hanoi and HCMC.

While Vietnam struggles with scandals about banned substances and high antibiotic residue, meat imports from Europe have begun dominating the domestic market.
To date, meat products from Europe and the US have been imported in modest quantities because of the high tax. However, analysts said things will be different when free trade agreements take effect under which the imports tariffs will be cut, thus making the imports cheaper. 

This means that Vietnamese consumers will have more choices with meat, while the domestic livestock industry would have rivals in the home market.

Doan Ngoc Tho, director of THO Trade & Service Company, a meat importer, said that beef imports had increased by 100 percent in recent years. 

Vietnamese companies import frozen beef from the US and live cows from Australia for domestic slaughter. Meat products from the EU have been present in Vietnam since 2015 when Vietnam removed the ban.

Tho predicted that imports from the EU would be increasing significantly in the time to come as European companies now boost trade promotions in Vietnam in preparation for the EU-Vietnam FTA.

At present, the tariff on meat imports from the EU is 14-30 percent, but it will decrease to 5 percent by 2018.

A senior executive of the US Mart in HCMC said the retail chain plans to import premium meat from the US instead of focusing on mid-tier products.


Thanh Lich
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