Participation in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) has opened up many opportunities for Vietnam in the agriculture sector as it creates favorable conditions for local enterprises to access international markets. While the global economy is still recovering after the COVID-19 pandemic, the agriculture sector in Vietnam has been benefiting a lot from these two FTAs.

The tariff reduction in the CPTPP and the EVFTA has increased demand and boosted exports from Vietnam to the international market. With the CPTPP, most of Vietnam’s key agricultural exports will enjoy a tax rate of 0% immediately after the CPTPP takes effect or after 3-5 years, for example, some types of seafood (fish, shrimp), fresh and processed vegetables, rice,… when exported to large markets such as Canada, Japan and Mexico. With the EVFTA, tax rates on a series of agricultural products exported to the EU will gradually decrease to 0% after a short period from the effective date of the EVFTA. Tax rate on many Vietnamese products will fall to 0-4% such as pepper (currently 0-11%); rice and grain products. For fisheries, about 50% of tariff lines will be eliminated, and the remaining 50% will be eliminated within a 3-7 year roadmap. This is a potential opportunity for Vietnamese businesses to grow exports in potential markets as well as contribute to diversifying exports of agricultural, forestry and fishery products, which are the strength of Vietnam. In 2022, the sector’s export turnover reached 53 billion USD with a trade surplus of 8.5 billion USD, up 30% from 2021. The export of agricultural, forestry and fishery products also achieved new records. In particular, the domestic fishery industry exports to the CPTPP markets expanded by 30% to 27% of the country’s total fishery export value. In 2022, rice exports in Vietnam hit a record 7 million tons, up 13.8 percent in volume and 5.1 percent in turnover in 2021. In 2023, Vietnam expects further opportunities for export growth of agricultural products by diversifying markets and target production to satisfy export market requirements on food safety, and effectively complete post-harvest activities.

Vietnam’s participation in the CPTPP and in the EVFTA also increases connectivity between businesses through participating in regional and global supply chains. Through these two FTAs, Vietnamese agricultural products have the opportunity to access 37 large markets including Japan, Canada, and Australia. The participation will help raise the level of development of the economy in general and Vietnam’s agriculture in particular, at the same time increasing competitiveness compared to other competitors who do not have FTAs with the EU or other CPTPP member states, for example, India and Thailand. With regard to production, businesses can participate in production stages with higher value added by investing in domestic production and chain development while reducing export of raw materials and preliminary processing. This creates motivation for domestic enterprises and income opportunities for workers in rural areas. Vietnam’s commitments on import- export related rules and procedures create conditions to attract more domestic and foreign investment to improve the business environment in general and in agriculture sector in particular. Overall, this is a great opportunity to upgrade Vietnam’s agriculture in the next 5 – 10 years.

As the growth in Vietnam’s agricultural sector continues to flourish with new opportunities for trade, so are the need for further clarity in Vietnam’s regulations or stricter requirements from each partner’s market. There are challenges coming from regulations on animal and plant quarantine and safety (SPS), regulations on product labeling (TBT) or related regulations on social responsibility, labor standards and high requirements on intellectual property protection and environmental protection, especially for markets with strict standards such as the EU and Canada. For instance, Vietnamese businesses might fail to meet the regulations on traceability, rules of origin and maximum residue levels (MRLs) for pesticides in foods, which are prerequisites for access to the EU market. Although there are many shortcomings regarding management, quality control and production process, Vietnam’s agriculture sector is shifting to adapt to growing diversity, especially which of highly demanding markets. This drives the requirements for improved product quality and enhances food safety with an emphasis on environmental responsibility and management. Under competition pressure, Vietnamese agriculture will need to absorb new science and technology through transnational investment activities accompanied by science and technology and improving labor skills, thereby changing the traditional agriculture and improving production efficiency and product quality. With stricter requirements of the export markets, the agriculture sector needs to be more innovative and adaptable, which requires building a sustainable agricultural industry and focusing on automation and digital transformation in the sector.

As part of aiming for sustainable development, Vietnam has made specific actions such as committing at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) and endorsing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which can help build sustainable agriculture, join the global value and food chains and improve living conditions. In 2023, Vietnam will focus on the rural economy with activities of cooperatives, OCOP (One Commune One Product) development, and agriculture-based tourism. Vietnam also set some priorities to focus on the development of circular agriculture:

• Efficient water use and wastewater management;
• Minimisation of waterway and wetlands salination (notably Mekong delta);
• Monitoring of Climate Change and its effect on weather patterns;
• Development of smart agriculture systems through digital transformation;
• Tracking and traceability of clean and hygienic food;
• Development of opportunities to join the global agriculture supply chain, and;
• The need for FDI companies to be more environmentally and socially responsible and concentrate on sustainable agricultural operations.

Agriculture is one of the priority sectors of Vietnam’s plan for digital transformation. One of Vietnam’s development orientations for 2021-2030 is to develop agriculture based on digital transformation and linkage of domestic and international markets. The application of technology and digital in production and business in the agriculture sector will create a turning point in agricultural production, moving from a traditional agrarian economy to an agricultural economy. Therefore, Vietnam needs to re-invent the agriculture sector with new ideas and concepts, new farming models, innovation, digitization, more efficient logistics, and a greater focus on circular agriculture and environmental responsibility.

Vietnam is in the direction of restructuring the agricultural sector, reorganizing production, and piloting a number of models for advanced production, promoting the application of science and technology, supporting businesses and farmers in agricultural production and business activities to improve productivity and quality of agricultural products, thereby being able to compete at home and reach the world market. The arrival of 4.0 smart agriculture in Vietnam signals the end of an exclusive dependence on water, fertilizers, and pesticides. Instead, farmers will acess data, GPS technology and moisture sensors to break down traditional challenges into crop selection, market access, and innovation. New applications in agriculture such as advanced breeding techniques, robotization and precision farming using satellite data and drones will play a big role in the farms as it helps to produce more with fewer resources.

Although the technological level of agriculture in Vietnam is low, there are still good prospects for the application of technology 4.0 in this sector. This is evident by the increasing, although modest, number of enterprises providing digital and technical solutions for farming. Currently, many large Vietnamese corporations are interested in investing in the agricultural sector with advanced production and management technologies, such as Nextfarm and AgriConnect. In addition, agriculture enterprises remain active in applying innovative solutions for leading farmers toward digitalization. From the demand side, there is a new wave of private investment in agriculture for medium and large-scale farms.


The ongoing transformation of the agriculture sector to a sustainable and innovative way is important for Vietnam to maximize the benefits of CPTPP and EVFTA. We do hope that Vietnamese agricultural, forestry and aquaculture products from local and foreign-invested companies will be more competitive in the international market and be able to satisfy stringent phyto-sanitary and other quality standards, including traceability and packaging.

To achieve this, we have some recommendations as follow: (i) there is a need for further movement to larger-scale farming operations away from smallholdings and also to improve quality management, minimal pollution, energy savings and effective disease control; (ii) it is also necessary to accelerate digital transformation process by bringing with it Smart Agriculture which allows for better water, feed, fertilizer, traceability and waste management; and (iii) logistics and supply chain management needs to be improved, which will allow Vietnam to join global supply chains and have efficient movement of goods within the country between provinces and distribution hubs and centers.

Please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Oliver Massmann at if you have any questions. Dr. Oliver Massmann is the General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.

© 2009- Duane Morris LLP. Duane Morris is a registered service mark of Duane Morris LLP.

The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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