Vietnam Removes Cattle Age, Product Restrictions for U.S. Beef

On March 27, the FSIS Export Library for Vietnam was updated to reflect removal of all cattle age and product restrictions on U.S. beef and beef products, provided these items are derived from cattle slaughtered on or after March 27. The Agricultural Marketing Service Export Verification (EV) program is no longer required for these products.

Vietnam is a small market for U.S. beef and beef variety meat, with exports in 2014 totaling 2,869 metric tons (mt) valued at $22.1 million. But removal of cattle age and product restrictions is a positive development, especially in a market that is rather price-sensitive.

“It is encouraging whenever a trading partner removes BSE-related restrictions and grants full access to its market,” said Thad Lively, USMEF senior vice president for trade access. “This indicates that the ongoing educational efforts of our U.S. trade officials are paying dividends, as well as the negligible BSE risk status granted to the U.S. by the OIE in May of 2013.”

Lively also noted that having access to Vietnam for a full range of beef products will allow the U.S. industry to better capitalize on any market access gains resulting from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

While the Export Library update represents a full opening of the Vietnamese market, it is important that exporters serving Vietnam observe the following procedures:

For beef-exporting companies that already have Circular 25 Appendix 3 documents approved by Vietnam’s National Agro Forestry Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (NAFIQAD), no update to the current Appendix 3 is necessary. These companies may begin shipping an expanded range of products to Vietnam, including beef from cattle more than 30 months of age, as long as the cattle were slaughtered on or after March 27.

For companies that have not yet completed the Circular 25 Appendix 3 documents, please refer to the guidance documents on the USMEF website under “Guidelines for Exporting to Specific Countries” to complete the application and plant approval process. The Appendix 3 document must be completed and approved by NAFIQAD in order for a company to be eligible to export to Vietnam.

As USMEF has previously communicated to exporters, some plants that had submitted updated Circular 25 Appendix 3 documents for white offal products are not being approved for the full additional product scope, and those establishments that are approved for white offal products could see increased inspection of these items upon arrival in Vietnam. FAS-Hanoi is seeking clarification from NAFIQAD as to whether these restrictions on white offal products will remain in place despite Vietnam’s expanded access for U.S. beef. USMEF will report further details as more information becomes available.

Exporter with questions regarding Vietnam may email Travis Arp or call 303-623-6328.