ePing trade alerts system launched in Vietnamese
(Geneva) Vietnamese traders struggle to keep track of updates in sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS) and technical barriers to trade (TBT) in foreign markets. Small and medium-sized companies in Viet Nam also reported, through the ITC Business Survey in 2019, that the language barrier represents an additional difficulty. In response to these challenges, ITC and Vietrade with the support of local SPS and TBT enquiry points teamed up to launch ePing in Vietnamese today (29 April).
‘The Vietnamese version of ePing will help bringing the information contained in WTO notifications closer to those who most need it: the exporters and importers. It will help businesses react in a timely manner to regulatory changes in partner countries and will enable them to better identify concerns they may have to comply with such changes', says Pamela Coke-Hamilton, ITC Executive Director.
Member governments need to inform the WTO before adopting new product requirements, ranging from pesticide residue limits to labelling rules. Each year, governments notify of more than 5,000 TBT and SPS measures.
‘In early 2018, new substances were added to the list of the forbidden chemicals in European countries. Our company did not know about this until mid-season. As a result, the exporting volume fell because the farmers had already applied the chemicals to lychees when growing the fruits’, reports a Vietnamese frozen lychee exporter to the ITC Business Survey on Non-Tariff Measures conducted in Viet Nam.
To prevent such trade disruptions, SPS and TBT enquiry points in Viet Nam suggested a series of actions to ITC. The strategies, coordinated in the country by Vietrade, include translating ePing into Vietnamese, providing trainings on how local businesses can benefit from the platform and a campaign to reach a larger number of users. Currently, ePing registers 13,000 users worldwide and around 350 in Viet Nam.
‘ePing also provides a unique platform to discuss upcoming changes in product requirements in foreign markets domestically and to raise any concerns related to new requirements with peers. Dedicated government officials can monitor these discussions and follow up on questions asked or matters discussed’, explains Hoe Lim, Director, Trade and Environment Division, WTO.
Launched in 2016, the free online platform alerts those registered of notifications in sectors and markets of interest on a daily or weekly basis and facilitates dialogue at the domestic and international level. The ePing project is a joint initiative of UNDESA, ITC and the WTO.
Vietrade, ITC the SPS and TBT enquiry points in Viet Nam, the Foreign Trade University (FTU) and local business associations joined forces to make this project possible.
The FTU students in Hanoi are translating the most relevant notifications concerning Vietnamese exporters. They are also providing explanation of the potential impact of those updates in foreign regulations to the local traders’ operations. So far, this pilot project covered 50 notifications in Seafood and Footwear sectors, considered a priority by Vietrade and the Enquiry Points. SPS and TBT notifications concerning fruits and vegetables will soon be included in the translation efforts.
According to Vietrade, this partnership is key to raise awareness on non-tariff measures, which is one ITC NTM Programme pillars in Viet Nam. ‘Students will expand their knowledge about international trade combining a theoretical approach and real-life trade experiences by working together with SMEs’, highlights Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy, Deputy Director at Vietrade.
This innovative collaboration between ITC and the FTU will also reflect in the university’s curriculum. From now on, the work on ePing and the ITC Market Analysis tools will be part of the university’s International Trade classes.
For more information about ePing in Vietnamese, please visit the website: ePing (epingalert.org).
Notes for the Editor
About ITC- The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.
For more information, visit www.intracen.org.
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ITC’s program on Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs) in Viet Nam is implemented in close collaboration with national partners to ensure maximum impact on the ground. Vietrade – Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency is ITC’s main coordination partner. https://ntmsurvey.intracen.org/vietnam & www.ntmsurvey.org/epingvietnam.
An SPS/TBT enquiry point is an institution established within each member of the WTO which serves to connect members, the private sector, trade officials, standards officials, regulators and any other domestic and international stakeholders, in all matters relating to the implementation of the transparency provisions of the SPS/TBT Agreements and which should be able to answer all reasonable enquiries from other members.
NTM Business Survey
ITC surveys companies in developing countries about the regulatory and procedural obstacles to trade they face at home and abroad. In 2019, the survey listened to 1,700 enterprises in Viet Nam on the non-tariff measures (NTMs) related obstacles faced during their export and import operations.
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