Vietnam: Agriculture Sector – Current Issues And Solutions For Investment And Outlook On Major Trade Deals TPP 11 And EUVNFTA

Last Updated: 20 December 2017
Article by Oliver Massmann


Since 2016, the exports of many products in the agriculture sector in Vietnam has strongly increased. On the other hand, the agriculture sector is still vulnerable as shown in the past due to its limited development.
The development of the agriculture sector in Vietnam needs to come on track to solve the important issue on shifting from price to quality to ensure sustainable growth as backbone sector of Vietnam's economy.
However, to ensure high quality products, Vietnam needs to make changes.
Firstly, the use of prohibited chemicals during breeding, preservation, digestion needs to be enforced and controlled by state authorities. The stricter control of raw materials before digestion and the manufacturing standards are further issues that need to be addressed to make the agriculture competitive with international players. Furthermore, the transformation of the domestic Vietnamese agriculture into a self-sufficient sector is another important step that needs to be realized.
In addition, to ensure sustainability, growth and for protection against crisis, farmers need to earn stable income, the farmers' carbon footprints need to get reduced and the production must be adjusted to the requirements of the consumers and demand in the market.
However, for solving these problems, long term solutions need to be enrolled, those can be (i) increased food safety, (ii) diversification of products, (iii) improvement of regulatory environment, (iv) observing costs and improved finance, (v) the dependence on China in fruits, vegetables and pork meat must be addressed due to caused problems in the past.
On the other hand, Vietnam's export of dragon fruit to Australia and export of poultry to Japan shows capability of Vietnamese exports meeting high safety requirements.
If the current issues can be addressed in the future, Vietnam's exports in agriculture sector will show sustainable growth in the future.


1. Traceability and safeguarding of products
Vietnamese and international consumers are concerned about quality and safety of the food they are purchasing.
Currently, there are no well-developed traceability systems of the government for agricultural products in force. This is leading to significant consequences for the competitiveness in production. Further, the potential of product improvement is reduced, exports and market access is limited.
In Addition, the safety for consumers is deceased leading to low satisfaction of consumers.
As result of the existing issues, there are almost no financial incentives for improvement of processes.
However, now, it is possible for the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) to monitor animal movements with the help of the Department of Animal Health for protection against diseases of animals.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Department of Livestock Production improved systems for better protection and regulation of unofficial imports of products from other countries. This monitoring system shall also improve competitiveness and market accessibility in foreign countries.
On the other hand, these issues can only be fully addressed if obtained in regulations. TE Food System is operating a traceability system helping the authorities in HCMC and surrounding provinces on monitoring movements of pigs. This system is embedded in Decision 6079/QD. This year, the system was extended to eggs (Decision 3583/QD), chicken and poultry (Decision 3584/QD). Further extension to fruits, vegetables and beef are planned.
Nevertheless, these systems not only grant possibility on making regulations, it also can lead to reduced corruption due to better possibility to control.
For addressing the issue best, the systems should be improved on including the whole agriculture sector for ensuring sustainable growth, a fair and well-developed competition between national famers and international farmers as well as good market access.

2. Management of Plant Protection Products and its approach to regulation based on science
On 6th August 2015 the Circular No. 21/2015 was released. It is addressing Management of Plant Protection Products.
However, it contains provisions that could turn out as dangerous to the economy, environment and to the farmers as displayed in the following:
The circular contains provision about no registration and the banning of pesticides falling under GHS Category 3 and 4 in area of vegetable, tea and fruit. Further, the banning and no registration of crop protection products for use with vegetables, tea and fruit with having PHI bigger than seven days of use.
There is no scientific approach behind these provisions. As result, they could ban the availability on technologies for farmers in Vietnam operating in vegetable, tea and fruit.
Furthermore, these provisions lead to a significant competitive disadvantage to the agriculture sector. In addition, they contain specific risks to the environment, consumers and domestic economy due to the potential prohibition of the most-developed technologies bringing biggest amount of safety against diseases and climate issues to the consumer and possibility of productivity to farmers.
These provisions should not be adopted due to lack of science-based approach. Vietnam should handle this issue as other countries in southeast-Asia did.

3. Import and Export of Plants and Seeds
The import of plants and seeds can be done online in Vietnam. The purchased seeds have to be registered before the import can be successful. In cases where the online application file does not fit with the registration requirements, the import is delayed until registration is successful.
Enterprises need to be provided with sufficient information or guidelines to accelerate the import processes and for excluding delays in imports. On the other hand, export cannot be done online, thus, exports of plants and seeds need an insufficient amount of time.
The online export should be made possible for more efficiency in Vietnam.

4. Legal environment on banned substances and reduction of Antimicrobial Resistance
The last issue addresses the enforcement of regulations on bans and limitations regarding substances and the reduction of Antimicrobial Resistance. The use of antibiotics in animal nutrition can have various good effects such as prevention of diseases or treatment against them. On the other hand, it has bad impact on the consumer by means of the human body is building resistance against antibiotics leading to significant health risks for consumers.
As result, Vietnamese lawmakers have made big efforts to enforce existing regulations regarding to violations on the use of banned antibiotics and other substances.
Several circulars have been provided containing a list of prohibited chemicals and antibiotics on import, use in livestock and trading. However, the Circular No. 28/2014/TT-BNNPTNT is only addressing a few types of banned antibiotics and substances. After releasing the circular, many farmers concluded about reducing the use of antibiotics in animal nutrition and tried to replace them with alternative substances. Therefore, the government should endeavor research activities on alternative treatments and substances.
Another important measurement for enforcing the regulations were urine test kits for scanning on prohibited substances and uncovering violations against the regulations. Violations can lead to hard penalties up to the obligation on killing all animals on the farm. As result, it was possible to reduce the overuse of prohibited substances.
Moreover, the mass usage of antibiotics is leading to Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). According to the WTO, AMR is a huge global problem and estimated to be main cause of death by 2050 in Vietnam. Further, the economic costs will be USD 100 trillion!
However, in 2015, the four competent Vietnamese Ministries, Development Partners and a National Steering Committee signed an Aide Memoire as action plan against misuse and control of antibiotics in the livestock production and aquaculture. Vietnam should adopt measurements and strategies from other countries to address these issues in a successful way and to ensure strict enforcement of existing regulations. Further, biosecurity, monitoring, genetics, nutrition and control are other aspects that have to be addressed to grant safe products to the consumer without major health risks and to reduce AMR.


In January 2017, US President Donald Trump decided to withdraw from the US' participation in the TPP. In November 2017, the remaining TPP members met at the APEC meetings and concluded about pushing forward the now called CPTPP (TPP 11) without the USA. The agreement shall be signed by all member states by the first quarter of 2018. After that, it has to be ratified in each member state before taking effect.
The effects of the TPP 11 promising great benefits for the agriculture sector in Vietnam and will support Vietnam's national agriculture transforming into a self-sufficient and competitive sector. The TPP 11 is targeting to eliminate tariff lines and custom duties among member states on certain goods and commodities to 100%. As a result, international products will arrive at the Vietnamese market, so that, the Vietnamese livestock should use the given time for restructuring but also for becoming competitive and creating efficient environment for international investments.
With the National and Most-Favored Nation Treatment principle, the TPP is ensuring a fair competition which will attract new foreign investments as well as support for the agriculture sector in its restructuring process.
Moreover, national farmers must adopt high-developed technologies in nutrients and animal healthcare to be competitive. This will lead to more safety and trust of the consumer in the agriculture market in Vietnam.

One another notable major trade agreement is the EUVNFTA between the European Union and Vietnam. The EUVNFTA offers great opportunity to access new markets for both, the EU and Vietnam. It will help to bring more capital into Vietnam. In addition, the EUVNFTA will boost the most economic sectors in Vietnam. Moreover, the agreement will eliminate 99% of tariffs on agricultural products leading to huge dynamic in the sector and Vietnam will get the chance on adopting technology from the European Union.
Furthermore, the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) will ensure highest standards of legal certainty and enforceability and protection for investors. We alert investors to make use of these standards! We can advise how to best do that! It is going to be applied under the TPP 11 and the EUVNFTA. Under that provision, for investment related disputes, the investors have the right to bring claims to the host country by means of international arbitration. The arbitration proceedings shall be made public as a matter of transparency in conflict cases. In relation to the TPP, the scope of the ISDS was reduced by removing references to "investment agreements" and "investment authorization" as result of the discussion about the TPP's future on the APEC meetings on 10th and 11th November 2017.
Further securities come with the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA), which is going to be part of the TPP 11 and the EUVNFTA.
The GPA in both agreements mainly deals with the requirement to treat bidders or domestic bidders with investment capital and Vietnamese bidders equally when a government buys goods or requests for a service worth over the specified threshold. Vietnam undertakes to timely publish information on tender, allow sufficient time for bidders to prepare for and submit bids, maintain confidentiality of tenders. The GPA in both agreements also requires its Parties assess bids based on fair and objective principles, evaluate and award bids only based on criteria set out in notices and tender documentation, create an effective regime for complaints and settling disputes, etc.
This instrument will ensure a fair competition and projects of quality and efficient developing processes.

Disclaimer: This Alert has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice. For more information, please see the firm's full disclaimer.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions