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National review on voluntary standards. Country: Vietnam : Voluntary standards, food quality public policies and implementation framework. Final report

Duteurtre G., Sautier D., Vandecandelaere E., Nguyen V.H., Le Thi H., Le Nhu Thinh. 2012. Rome : FAO, 50 p..

In Vietnam, a large number of food voluntary standards are implemented, both on a public and a private basis. Government services are strongly involved in setting, applying and implementing public voluntary standards such as VietGAP, RAT (safe vegetable) and Geographical Indications (GIs). Until now, however, those public voluntary standards have not been widely used by private enterprises, though their importance is increasing in particular in the fruits and vegetables sector. Apart from public standards, a large number of private voluntary standards are being used. For enterprises and procedures certification, ISO 9001, HACCP and ISO 22000 are the most commonly used in the agro-industry. The implementation of those standards benefits from a strong support from government standardization authorities. For products certification, a large set of standards are slowly emerging, mainly for "sustainable products" on export markets, and for "organic products" on domestic markets. Government services are much less involved in supporting those initiatives. The aquaculture sector is up to now the highest concerned by the development of those standards. The increasing number of such private voluntary standards, and the high competition among standards owners (the "battle for standards"), make it a bit difficult for private enterprises to choose between them. The adoption of each standard relies mainly on the capacity of the standards owners and the certifying bodies to interact with market operators and rural communities. The study concludes that government services in charge of food quality improvement should recognize the emerging role of private voluntary standards, and promote complementarities between public and private standards schemes.

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