Vietnam should improve quality to increase ag exports to South Korea

Vietnam is likely to reach US$70 billion of bilateral trade with South Korea by 2020, an official said at a seminar on export promotion to South Korea held on Friday in HCM City.

Lê An Hải, deputy head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Asia-Pacific Market Department, said bilateral trade between the two countries had soared 87-fold, from $500 million in 1992, to $43.4 billion last year. 

Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, Heo Songmoo, counselor for food & drug safety affairs at the South Korean Embassy said food safety should match the country’s high standard of imports, which is equivalent to standards required in the United States and Japan.

“Improving marketing tools as well as packaging (attractive, with sufficient information about the product) should be a top priority for Vietnamese exporters in order to compete with Thailand and others,” he told Việt Nam News.

Meanwhile, Yoon Byung Soo, product strategy director at Lotte Việt Nam Shopping Join-Stock Company, said Korean customers preferred healthy, high-quality products.

Vietnam should diversify its products and pay more attention to product appearance and packaging as Korean consumers are willing to pay more for those features, he said.

Nguyễn Minh Phương, a representative from CJ Freshway Vietnam, said that Korean standards were very high, particularly for agricultural products, creating a tough barrier for Vietnamese exporters.

South Korea has an area one-third the size of Việt Nam, but the country’s population is 51.44 million. Due to an inadequate food supply from domestic producers, South Korea depends heavily on imports of agricultural products.

Việt Nam, one of South Korea’s most important trade partners, has great potential to become a strategic exporter of agricultural products to Korea, Phương said.

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