The Food, Agri and Aqua Business Sector Committee (FAASC) of the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) has organised a dialogue between Government representatives, companies and other organisations on food safety: the importance of labs an testing for import and export. The dialogue took place on 4 November 2015 in Hanoi.
The dialogue was divided in three moderated panel sessions (please see the panel composition at the bottom of the page).
The first panel dialogue was about the current situation and possible improvements for labs/testing in relation to export and import. Issues raised were the sampling methods, the fact that products are meeting the specification when imported, but with market access licensing they are not meeting the requirements, the need to be re-accredited while the Bureau of Accreditation is a member of ILAC, why are results of accredited (foreign) labs not recognised; and the lack of trust in Vietnamese laboratories results.
The second panel dialogue was about the current situation and possible improvements the quality of labs/testing. Issues raised were the need to raise the standard of labs, the need for proficiency testing (ring tests) and strict auditing; false positives / false negatives and the fact that several tests cannot be performed in Vietnam or are not up-to-standard when compared with accredited labs outside Vietnam.
Finally, the last panel dialogue was about how to meet future demand and requirements for labs in relation to Free Trade Agreements. Issues raised included: the role the Bureau of Accreditation and the Vietnamese Laboratory Scheme (VILAS) can play in issuing guidelines for International Standardisation Organisation (ISO) and also how VILAS can play a more important role in lab accreditation, the need for accreditations by other ministries/agencies, and the fact that foreign labs are not listed as a lab that can be asked to perform testing in relation to export and import.
About 80 representatives of the industry, international organisations and government officials participated in the dialogue. Mr Tran Viet Thanh, Vice-Minister of Science and Technology, opened the dialogue followed by Remco Gaanderse, Board Member of EuroCham. Mrs Miriam Garcia Ferrer, First Counsellor, Head of Economic and Trade Section of the Delegation of the European Union to Vietnam, provided some insight on what can be expected when the European Union-Vietnam FTA (EVFTA) and what is needed in relation to food and agricultural products.
In his closing remarks the Vice-Minister confirmed that there are currently some issues that needs to be addressed. He indicated he would look into this to see what and how these issues could be addressed (together with relevant parties such as the various Ministries, the FAASC and businesses in general).
Amongst attendees were representatives of various departments and agencies of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Science and Technology, representatives of relevant provincial and local departments, representatives of international organisations such as the EU Delegation, UNIDO, the FAO, World Bank, Business France, representatives of the Swiss and British embassy. It has been a constructive afternoon and it is clear that the framework is there, but that still a lot needs to be done.
You can find the documents and pictures related to the dialogue here: program of the dialogue (English and Vietnamese), position paper introducing the topic (English and Vietnamese), the presentation (English and Vietnamese), and the photo album.
Composition of the panels
The first panel dialogue was about the current situation and possible improvements for labs/testing in relation to export and import. The panel consisted of Mr An Le (Supply Chain Manager at Yara Vietnam), Mr Peter Robson (General Manager of DSM Nutritional Products Vietnam Ltd.), Mr Tran Chi Dung (Analytical expert of the Center of Analytical Service and Experimentation in HCMC), Mr Le Ba Anh (Deputy Director of the National Agro Forestry Fisheries Quality Assurance Department), Mr Tran Van Vinh (General Director of the Directorate for Standards, Metrology and Quality) and was moderated by Mr Nguyen HoaiNam (Deputy Secretary General of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers).
The second panel dialogue was about the current situation and possible improvements the quality of labs/testing. The panel consisted of Mr David Lee (representing FAPAS), Mr Lionel Montarges (Laboratory Director at InvivoLabs Vietnam), Mr Johnnh Queck (ASEAN Business Line Manager at Biomerieux), Mr Ang Chun Hiong (Application Engineer, Agilent Technologies Singapore Ltd.), Mr Tran Van Vinh (General Director of the Directorate for Standards, Metrology and Quality) and Mrs Tran Thi Thu Ha (Deputy Director Bureau of Accreditation) and was moderated by Prof. Dr. Chu Pham Ngoc Son (President of the Chemical Society HCMC).
The last panel dialogue was about how to meet future demand and requirements for labs in relation to FTA’s. The panel consisted of Mr Lionel Montarges (Laboratory Director at Invivo Labs Vietnam), Mr Tran Chi Dung (Analytical expert of the Center of Analytical Service and Experimentation in HCMC), Mrs Tran Thi Thu Ha (Deputy Director Bureau of Accreditation), Mr Tran Van Vinh (General Director of the Directorate for Standards, Metrology and Quality) and was moderated by Mr Jean Jacques Bouflet (former Minister Counselor and Head of the Economics and Trade section of the EU delegation in Vietnam, on personal title).