Firms set to exploit RCEP opportunities

Survival strategy: A man walks past a clothing store in Hanoi. Experts say domestic enterprises must actively adapt and turn challenges into opportunities to improve competitiveness in domestic and foreign markets. — AFP

HANOI: The Industry and Trade Ministry and the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry will step up support for the Vietnamese business community to effectively exploit opportunities from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), contributing to export promotion and economic development.

This is a free trade agreement (FTA) signed by 10 Asean member countries and five partner countries – Japan, South Korea, China, Australia and New Zealand – on Nov 15, 2020. The RCEP came into effect on Jan 1, 2022.

Many RCEP member countries are the owners and suppliers of major strategic raw materials in the world such as China, South Korea and Asean countries.

They are also the leading important trading partners of Vietnam like China, South Korea and Japan, with the total trade turnover accounting for more than half of the national trade revenue.

RCEP will form the world’s largest free trade area with 2.2 billion consumers, accounting for about a third of the world’s population and global gross domestic product.

Strong commitments to opening the market for goods, services and investment and a common rule on origin for the 15 RCEP countries will be favourable conditions for forming and developing new supply chains in the region with the participation of the Vietnamese business community.

“These will be an important foundation to create favourable conditions for Vietnamese industries and businesses in diversifying input materials to improve productivity, quality and competitiveness.

“They will help promote exports and the country’s socio-economic development,” said Industry and Trade Minister Nguyen Hong Dien.

However, there are also many difficulties and challenges because the regional economies are competitive, even in fields where Vietnam has strengths.

Therefore, domestic enterprises must actively adapt and turn challenges into opportunities to improve competitiveness in domestic and foreign markets.

Dang Phuc Nguyen, general secretary of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association, said vegetables and fruits exported or imported among RCEP members must be under quotas or the signed protocol.

For example, Vietnam is only allowed to officially export 10 fruit and vegetable products to China, including dragon fruit, mango, jackfruit, rambutan, lychee, mangosteen, watermelon, banana, longan and black jelly.

Other Vietnamese fruit and vegetable products are undergoing long negotiations for export approval to China, including durian, passion fruit, sweet potato, lemon, grapefruit and avocado.

According to Nguyen, from January 2022 to now, China has implemented “Zero Covid,” including a strict inspection policy for food, agricultural products and vegetables exported from all countries to China, including Vietnam.

This has made Vietnamese fruits and vegetables stagnant at the border gates, causing much damage to enterprises and farmers of Vietnam. — Viet Nam News/ANN

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