Published: Wed, 04 November 2015
Ireland’s Seán Kelly MEP is one of a small number of MEPs who are seeking out new export opportunities during a trade mission to Vietnam this week, following the conclusion of the EU’s Free Trade Agreement with the Southeast Asian country this year.
As a representative of the European Parliament’s Trade Committee, Mr Kelly will particularly seek out Irish export opportunities: “Vietnam is a country of 90 million people, and like Southeast Asia in general, it has a rapidly growing middle class. That will equate to an increase in western living trends which will also mean the adoption of some western food and eating habits.
“Many Irish food businesses I have spoken to recognise this trade agreement as a huge opportunity, especially with the elimination of 99% of tariffs and non-tariff barriers. It will be much easier for Irish exporters of dairy and livestock food products, such as skimmed-milk, cheese and meats like pork and beef. Kerry Group, Glanbia etc will have huge opportunities here,” Mr Kelly said, speaking from Vietnam.
“What is important is that Ireland gets into this market first because often those suppliers who get a firm foothold in a market early on tend to do best,” Kelly added.
“The Free Trade Agreement with Vietnam is good news for Europe and good news for Ireland – it just needs to be implemented soon and we need to search out and seize the opportunities it brings,” the MEP concluded.
Mr Kelly will play a key role in several high-profile bi-lateral meetings in Vietnam this week including talks with Mr Vu Huy Hoang, Minister of Industry and Trade in Vietnam, Mr Tran Quoc Khanh, Vice-Minister of Industry and Trade and Mr Tran Van Hang, Chairman of the National Assembly Committee for Foreign Affairs in Vietnam.
MEP Kelly will also meet the Irish Ambassador to Vietnam Cáit Moran, as well as members of the Vietnam GAA club, as a former GAA President.
In 2014, Vietnam ranked as Ireland’s 45th largest trading partner with exports valued at €97,604 million; imports were valued at €113,689 million. Trade in services amounted to €59 million in 2013, of which €55 million were exports.
Key exports from Ireland to Vietnam include essential oils/perfumery and medical and pharmaceutical products. Key imports into Ireland from Vietnam include footwear; clothing; and furniture.
In 2014, the Embassy reopened the market for Irish pork-meat. By January 2015, the first imports of Irish pork arrived onto the Vietnamese market.