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Vietnam plans to ease US pork tariffs

Vietnam is planning to lower tariffs on US frozen pork, signalling a further easing of trade tensions with its biggest export market.

11 October 2021, at 9:55am

Nguyen Do Anh Tuan, a spokesperson for Vietnam’s agriculture ministry, told BNN Bloomberg that the tariff cuts will be announced this quarter. The move is expected to increase frozen pork imports from the US and narrow the trade deficit with Vietnam.

Easing import restrictions is seen as part of a strategy to improve Washington-Hanoi relations to counter the rising influence of China. Closer economic and geopolitical ties between the US and Vietnam could act as a balance to China’s increasing clout. During Vice President Kamala Harris’ recent trip to Vietnam, she suggested that easing tariffs would improve bilateral relations and could ultimately upgrade their existing relationship to a strategic partnership.

Tariffs are expected to be lowered to 10% from 15%. The agriculture ministry is expected to ease tariffs on other farm commodities like wheat and corn.

“Both sides have demonstrated a mutual understanding of each other to avoid conflict,” said Le Dang Doanh, a Hanoi-based economist and former government adviser. “Both are trying to compromise.”

Vietnam has one of the largest swine herds in Southeast Asia and pork is widely consumed as a staple meat. Demand for imported pork has risen over the past two years as Vietnam’s pig sector battled multiple outbreaks of African swine fever.

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