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Vietnamese exporters face compliance challenges from US market    
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Vietnamese exporters face compliance challenges from US market
Oct 10 2017

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent 32 warning letters to Vietnamese exporters in the first seven months of 2017. During the 2009-2017 period, the number of warnings totalled nearly 500, mostly concerning seafood products.

In order to export goods subject to FDA regulations for the US market, exporters must comply with this agency’s strict requirements and obtain its certificates.

The FDA will send a letter of warning to exporters whose shipments are found to have issues on quality, safety, pesticide residues and even labelling. The agency also warns the enterprises which fail to comply with new import regulations or update their information when it is changed.

According to the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, the FDA’s information is publicly available on its website and it is not difficult to find information about the US import policy updates as well as the list of Vietnamese enterprises given warnings on its website.

Since Vietnamese enterprises do not keep abreast of the latest information, those under warnings will risk being inspected by the FDA, having their goods audited and customs clearance time prolonged. This will lead to higher costs and unexpected consequences such as being banned from exporting to the US.

Therefore, enterprises should arrange personnel to proactively collect information on new regulations of their export markets and make adjustments to ensure compliance, thereby maintaining their export opportunities.

In addition, it is necessary to enhance the role of relevant agencies such as the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Science and Technology, Vietnamese trade representatives abroad and domestic trade associations in helping enterprises increase their awareness and capacity in food safety and diversify channels to provide enterprises with information on any new regulations.

In that spirit, an initiative to compile a set of quality standards for Vietnamese goods is a move being welcomed and should include universal international standards.

As taxes are being lowered under new trade agreements, it has become a trend in importing countries to put up non-tariff barriers with which exporters must comply. But this is also an opportunity for Vietnamese enterprises to enhance their competitiveness by increasing the quality of their products.

At the same time, it will help Vietnamese regulators to change their perception and create more effective and diversified technical barriers to protect domestic enterprises and consumers in the age of deepening international integration.-NDO