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Forestry, aquatic exports estimated at 20.5 billion US dollars in 2019

Vietnam’s forestry and aquatic product exports are expected to rake in 20.5 billion US dollars for the agricultural sector in 2019.

The export of forestry products is hoped to bring home 10.5 billion US dollars, while aquatic products are expected to earn 10 billion US dollars in the year.

According to the Vietnam Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the forestry export value was 9.3 billion US dollars in 2018, up 15.9% year-on-year, accounting for over 23% of the total export revenue of the agricultural sector.

Of the number, the export of wood and wooden products reached 8.78 billion US dollars, marking up 95% of the value.

Notably, the trade surplus of the forestry sector hit 6.99 billion US dollars, or 85% of the agricultural sector’s trade surplus.

The US, Japan, the European Union (EU), China and the Republic of Korea remained key importers of Vietnamese forestry products, accounting for 87.33% of the total export turnover.

VNFOREST Deputy General Director Pham Van Dien said the sector targets a growth rate of between 5.5-6.0% in production value in 2019, while the export value of wooden and forestry products will reach 10.5 billion US dollars, 1.2 billion US dollars higher than that of 2018.

According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan, Vietnam is likely to increase the output of material timber by 1.5 million cu.m in 2019.

Meanwhile, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said Vietnam and the EU officially signed the Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (VPA-FLEGT) on October 19, 2018 after six years of negotiation.

This was considered as a major turning point, contributing to forming a sustainable forestry economic sector, he noted.

Meanwhile, although facing many difficulties in dealing with the European Commission (EC)'s warning against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, the fishery sector still aims to achieve an export turnover of 10 billion US dollars in 2019.

According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien, to realise this goal, the MARD and the Directorate of Fisheries need to strictly perform the EC’s recommendations, and increase the value and promote the export of tra fish, tuna, and shrimps, which brought high export turnover in 2018.

To increase the export, attention should be paid to improving the quality of products and building the brand name, said Nguyen Hoai Nam, Deputy General Secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

However, Nam also pointed out challenges facing the sector in 2019 and next years as European and American countries are applying import control programmes and increasing trade safeguard measures.

To support domestic enterprises, the sector should focus on efforts to remove the EC’s “yellow card” warning against Vietnamese seafood, and sustainably develop catfish and brackish shrimp aquaculture using hi-technologies.-VNA/VNP