Trade in goods between Vietnam and the European Union (EU) has seen positive growth since the beginning of 2021, despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to statistics of the General Department of Customs, Vietnam exported US$16.1 billion worth of goods to the EU during January-May, while importing commodities worth $6.7 billion from the bloc, up 20.1 per cent and 16.8 per cent compared to the same period last year, respectively.
The EU is currently Vietnam’s fifth largest trade partner and second biggest importer of Vietnamese goods, following the US.
Last year, two-way trade reached $49.8 billion, down 0.1 per cent year-on-year, and accounting for 9.13 per cent of Vietnam’s total foreign trade.
With the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, Vietnam’s exports to the bloc bounced back since the end of 2020, said Trần Thanh Hải, deputy head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Import-Export Department.
Thanks to the preferential tariffs under the deal, footwear exports to the bloc’s 27 member countries increased by 19.2 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2021.
Countries that saw surges included Spain (39.2 per cent), Belgium (37 per cent), Czech Republic (36.5 per cent) and Sweden (30.8 per cent).
The agreement is also creating favourable conditions for the export of Vietnamese farm produce.
In recent days, batches of fresh lychees have been shipped to the Czech Republic, Germany, France and Belgium.
Trần Văn Công, Vietnam’s agricultural counsellor in Europe, said that the first batch of lychee to Belgium marked an important milestone as a special “passport” proving the production capacity of the Vietnamese agricultural sector.
According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), European importers have shown more interest in Vietnamese seafood suppliers given tariff advantages from the EVFTA and the stable source of raw materials.
Vietnam’s seafood exports to the EU reached over $380 million in the first 5 months of this year, up 15 per cent year-on-year, with half of which, nearly $199 million, coming from shrimp, up 22 per cent year-on-year.