New seafood import rules irk local enterprises

TN News

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Vietnamese firms are unhappy that new food safety rules that took effect early this month have made it difficult for them to obtain seafood import licenses.

Without imported seafood, they will not have enough material to process and keep their factories running, they said.

Furthermore, authorities at local levels are already overloaded with the task of overseeing the import of various kinds of meat and other foodstuff, and dealing with the additional burden of seafood imports creates undue delays.

Their shipments were getting stuck at customs departments and having to remain for longer times at seaports, the firms said during a meeting with regulatory authorities from the customs and veterinary departments last week.

Under the latest regulations issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, veterinary departments at city and provincial level will be responsible for investigating and issuing licenses for food and meat products imported into Vietnam.

The ministry's National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (Nafiqad), the country's only agency monitoring and granting licenses for seafood imports, ended the service this month.

The regulations also require seafood exporters to get food safety and quality certifications from local veterinary departments or other relevant agencies.

Vietnam is one of the world's biggest seafood exporters and importers.

The country imports seafood from 80 countries including Japan, Korea, Chile, China, Thailand, Russia and India.

Local firms import US$300 million worth of seafood to supply their processing factories ever year, while exporting over $4 billion worth, according to Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors.

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