Writer: Agriculture and Food Cluster Team
Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam plan activities to better facilitate trade of safe fresh fruits and vegetables.
As a result of a recent discussion to develop smoother and faster trade of fresh fruits and vegetables in South East Asia, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam agree to conduct trainings to strengthen capacity of plant quarantine officers and encourage exchange of information among the three countries.
“Trade facilitation can happen if trading partners more or less has equal capacity,” said Dr. Ker Monthivuth, Director of Plant Protection Sanitary and Phytosanitary, Cambodia as he stressed the importance of building capacity for plant quarantine officers to effectively help facilitate trade.
Activities planned for 2018 will include training for plant quarantine officers on identification of quarantine pest and conducting pest risk analysis in accordance with the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs), agreed at the 2nd Steering Committee Meeting (SCM) of Facilitating Trade for Agricultural Goods in ASEAN (FTAG) project held recently in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
The trainings will aim to enhance technical skills, knowledge and understanding of plant quarantine officers to carry out their duties efficiently. The scope of trainings will focus mainly on project’s selected pilot fruits and vegetables: longan, lychee, mango, dragon fruit, banana and chili.
In addition to trainings, compilation and translation of relevant regulations from Khmer, Thai and Vietnamese to English will also be made to encourage exchange of information such as on import requirements of selected pilot fruits and vegetables. The project will then explore existing appropriate websites to disseminate translated regulations and ensure there is access to information between the three countries.
Lack of access to information especially on import requirements of trading partner was a common issue raised in the three countries. Mr. Vu Van Minh, Deputy Director General of Agro Processing and Market Development Authority (Agrotrade) cum Director of Vietnam Sanitary and Phytosanitary Office, said: “We do not understand exactly the regulation so translation is something very important to us”.
Prior to exporting fruits and vegetables, exporter should ensure that the goods meet the requirements imposed by importing countries as certain fruits and vegetables have specific and different requirements.
“Encourage trading partner to translate the regulation and legislation from local language to English would be much easier for trading partners,” said Mr. Wichar Thitiprasert, Advisor of National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards (ACFS), Thailand.
The 2nd Steering Committee Meeting (SCM) of FTAG project was held on 27 April 2018 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia to consider and approve outcomes of key project activities on National and Regional Workshops to present the findings of Assessment Study to facilitate trade, and the tentative project Operational Plan for June 2018 – 2019. The Meeting was attended by project Steering Committee Members and representatives from Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam, and GIZ. There were 15 participants in total.
By Natasha Angsakulchai, Facilitating Trade for Agricultural Goods in ASEAN