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Aug 10, 2021 / 20:59

Belgian firm promotes Vietnamese farm produce in EU market

The EU is one of Vietnam's most important and stable trading partners.

European consumers are more interested in products imported from Vietnam when the advantages brought by the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) gradually become apparent, according to the Vietnam Trade Office to Belgium, the EU, and Luxembourg.

The EU is one of Vietnam's most important and stable trading partners, the second-largest export market behind the US.

 Betrimex Vietnam's Cocoxim products are sold in the domestic market. Photo: Betrimex Vietnam

The year 2021 is considered an important milestone when fresh fruits such as litchi and longan have been directly exported to Western European countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, and the UK by Vietnamese companies. EU businesses have shown increasing interest in many Vietnamese agricultural products.

Canned pure fresh coconut water Cocoxim of Ben Tre Import-Export JSC (Betrimex) has become familiar to many consumers in Belgium for some years. This product is imported directly from Vietnam by the Belgian startup South Export Alliance (SEA) over the past six years, and distributed in Belgium, France, and the Czech Republic.

In the early days of August, at a bonded warehouse in Belgium’s city of La Louvière, François Colonval, SEA’s Director, completed customs procedures for a new shipment imported from Vietnam and prepared to distribute coconut water to customers. Three or four times a year, the company imports a 20-foot container of roughly 25 tons of Cocoxim from Betrimex.

All the products of Cocoxim brand are about 50% of the food revenue of the company today, Colonval told The Hanoi Times.

Founded in 2016, Colonval introduced this product to Vietnamese and Asian restaurants. After several years, the natural beverage from Vietnam is a favorite drink of many European consumers thanks to the trend of healthy food consumption without sugar and chemical additives. 

SEA has become the exclusive distributor of Cocoxim coconut water for all Asian restaurants and some supermarkets in Belgium, as well as expanding this product sale to France and the Czech Republic.

 Cocoxim products are on the shelves of Belgium's supermarket. Photo: SEA

As the EVFTA officially took effect with preferential tariffs offered for Vietnamese agricultural products imported into the European market, SEA has expanded goods import from Vietnam. 

Colonval added: "We have started at the beginning of last year to work with SABECO [the Vietnamese beverage gaint] to develop Vietnamese beer market, which mostly competes with Thai and Chinese beer here in Belgium even. Belgium, of course, is the land of beer in the world."

"We continue to expand import seasoning, desiccated coconut, organic drinks, coffee, other beers. We hope to start Hanoi beer when the coronavirus restriction is removed. We are aiming to import sauces, including soy sauce and fish sauce, as soon as transportation prices back to normal again," he said.

For the amplified business scale, Colonval will hire more labor force to deal with increased imports of Vietnamese agricultural products to the EU.