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Seafood Exporters to Likely to be Affected by Stricter US Inspection Rules

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VIET NAM - Vietnamese seafood exporters to the US are likely to be affected by the proposed rules on the inspection of seafood products traded in this country.

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Viet Nam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) is collecting local seafood companies’s opinions on these proposed rules, which may block Vietnamese seafood products from the American market.

According to the proposed rules, Vietnamese players in the whole production chain have to comply with the same standards which are currently imposed to American domestic companies if they want to sell their products in the market. In the case of incompliance, US authorities will ban imports of pangasius cargo from Viet Nam, reports VASEP.

Vietnamese seafood exporters need to update information relating to these proposed rules set by the US Food and Drug of Administration (FDA) in order to timely comply with the Food Safety Modernisation Act (FSMA), Dao Tran Nhan, Counselor of Vietnam Trade Mission in the US said in a conference of trade counselors held by Vietnam Ministry of Industry and Commerce in Ho Chi Minh City.

If these proposed rules are approved, it will take Viet Nam five to seven years to upgrade its production and processing chains to meet American standards on production and processing operations. Viet Nam fish products may lose the opportunity to enter this huge market.

The proposed rules have been largely published to all WTO members, including Viet Nam and opened for public comments until January 27, 2014. It is important for Vietnamese seafood exporters to American market to get a full perception of these rules to send opinions to MARD.

There are two main contents which impacts strongly to Vietnamese exporters: Rules on inspecting foreign suppliers, which also permit American importers to indentify ones meeting food hygiene and safety standards through inspecting producing facilities, sampling and testing imported seafood, reviewing documents provided by suppliers and; Rules on voluntary programs and the accreditation of third party auditors in undertaking inspections as well as granting certificates for food facilities and products outside the US.

According to the US Ministry of Agriculture, Viet Nam ranked fifth among 134 seafood suppliers to American market through June 2013, accounting for 5.7 per cent of marker shares.

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