VIET NAM :Vietnamese Government authorities expressed concern about the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) final regulation establishing an inspection programme for fish under the order Siluriformes, including pangasius catfish.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Le Hai Binh argued that the new rule was unnecessary, since Vietnamese firms followed market mechanisms, food hygiene and safety regulations when it came to exporting tra and basa fish, which are very popular in the United States, VNS reported.
On the other hand, USDA’s representatives explained that this final rule applies to both the domestically-raised and imported resource, was developed in order to implement provisions required by the 2014 Farm Bill.
"The agency will conduct extensive outreach to domestic industry and international partners so that they fully understand FSIS' requirements, prior to its full implementation," USDA Deputy Under-Secretary for Food Safety Al Almanza said in the release.
However, Binh said the decision would become a non-tariff barrier, seriously affecting Vietnam's exports, the lives of Vietnamese farmers, as well as the interests of American consumers.
Apart from Vietnamese authorities and industry, opposition to this rule was expressed among American Congress leaders, agencies and organisations and other ASEAN member states.
Anyway, in order to protect the countries' legitimate interests, Vietnam would continue to work with the USDA and closely follow the implementation of the programme.
Before the effective date of the final rule, countries currently exporting product to the United States that wish to continue doing so must provide a list of establishments that currently export, as well as written documentation of their regulatory authority and compliance with existing FDA import requirements.
USDA informed that the rule will become effective in March 2016, 90 days after it publishes in the Federal Register, when an 18-month transitional implementation period begins for both domestic and international producers.
During the 18-month transitional period, FSIS will re-inspect and conduct species and residue sampling on imported Siluriformes fish shipments at least quarterly at US import establishments on a random basis.
Countries wishing to continue exporting product to the United States after the transitional period must apply for an equivalency determination. Applications for equivalency must be complete by the end of the 18-month transitional period.
The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) forecast that Vietnam will earn an estimated turnover of USD 950 million from tra exports in the second half of this year so the country will close this year with profits of about USD 1.7 billion, which is 4 per cent lower than last year.
According to VASEP, Vietnam's exports to US fell in the recent time because businesses had to pay a high anti-dumping tax of nearly USD 1 per kg, causing difficulties for Vietnamese exporters and American importers.