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Pork tariff relief sorely needed in Vietnam

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Source: National Hog Farmer/U.S. Meat Export Federation Staff, 8 September 2021, photo credit: Asia Someday

Vietnam market still holds significant opportunities for imported pork.

The Biden administration recently issued a fact sheet announcing advances in U.S.-Vietnam trade relations. One of the items included in the announcement was Vietnam’s “positive consideration” of a U.S. proposal to eliminate or reduce Most Favored Nation (MFN) import duties on pork, corn and wheat products.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) is awaiting further details on the status of this proposal, but the announcement underscores the fact that tariff relief for U.S. pork is much-needed in the price-sensitive Vietnamese market.

Even before African swine fever (ASF) was confirmed in Vietnam in early 2019, the U.S. pork industry saw strong growth potential in this emerging market. Though largely self-sufficient in pork production, Vietnam’s growing middle class and rapidly growing foodservice and retail sectors presented intriguing opportunities for U.S. pork. The U.S. pork industry was poised to benefit from significant market access gains in Vietnam through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) before the United States withdrew from TPP in 2017.

“Although Japan was the TPP member that drew most of the media attention when discussing access for U.S. red meat, we also saw improved access to Vietnam as a major win,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Once the U.S. withdrew from TPP, a bilateral agreement with Japan understandably became the top priority for U.S. agriculture, and thankfully the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement largely replicated the gains in pork market access that were included in TPP.

But that is not the case in Vietnam, where the successor agreement to TPP (the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP) and Vietnam’s free trade agreement with the European Union have put U.S. pork at a severe disadvantage.”   
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