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Trademark Production Will Improve Quality and Export Potential

VIET NAM - Viet Nam's government has embarked on a major initiative to fix quality standards for pangasius exports (Tra and Basa catfish) and develop a 'Made-in-Vietnam' trademark.

Luong Le Phuong, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, says such a programme is needed as quality benchmark and international brand for the industry

Pangasius and shrimp are primary export items for the seafood industry, a sector that which earned Viet Nam US$3.8 billion last year.

Phuong said to achieve 2008 export targets of $4.25 billion the country needed to implement a national policy for seafood produce.

Nguyen Tu Cuong, director of the National Fisheries Quality Assurance and Veterinary Directorate (NAFIQAVED), said the agency was in the process of drafting guidelines for a ministry decision issued recently.

The decision calls for regulated labeling, detailing water content, and use of chemicals in pangasius for export. The labels would have at least six components - name, net weight, production date, producer’s name, quality code, and country of origin.

Water content should not exceed 10 per cent of the net weight, although some importing countries specified 20 percent and that would be accommodate. The draft also lists 43 chemicals that are permitted for processing and freezing the fish.

“Seafood processors will be prohibited from exporting if they fail to meet any of the criteria,” said Cuong said.

Guidelines would come into effect once the directorate had gathered feedback from industry stakeholders.

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