Vietnam is following through on promises to slash its most-favored nation tariffs on corn, wheat and pork, offering new opportunities for U.S. ag exporters, according to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.
The MFN tariff reductions will help U.S. exporters compete with other suppliers from countries that have preferential free trade agreements with Vietnam. The country is a member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, an agreement from which the United States withdrew.
Vietnam issued a decree Monday that eliminates its tariffs on all classes of wheat, lowers its corn tariff from 5% to 2% and cuts the duty on frozen pork from 15% to 10%. The elimination of the wheat tariffs and the reduction of the corn tariff will go into effect Dec. 30, but the tariff on pork will not be lowered until July 1.
The country promised the tariff reduction in conjunction with Vice President Kamala Harris visit to Hanoi this summer, but no details were given at the time.
“This is great news for U.S. products as it levels the playing field with our competitors from the Black Sea and (Southeast Asian nations),” said U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Ryan LeGrand.
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He said his group's work with FAS “helped make this happen. We thank the Vietnamese government for taking these important steps to make trade freer and fairer there.”
The tariff cuts will be helpful to U.S. wheat exporters, who shipped more than 500,000 metric tons of hard red spring, soft white, hard red winter, and soft red winter wheat to Vietnam in the 2020-21 marketing year, according to the National Association of Wheat Growers. That volume is worth about $129 million.
U.S. wheat exports to Vietnam have plenty of room to grow. The country imports about 4 million tons annually.
“With about half of the wheat we produce available for export each year, we depend on increasing access to markets like Vietnam,” said NAWG President Dave Milligan.
U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Dan Halstrom also welcomed the tariff cut.
“U.S. pork faces a significant tariff disadvantage compared to most major suppliers in Vietnam, so the MFN tariff reduction is a welcome development in this very competitive and price-sensitive market,” he said in a statement to Agri-Pulse.
Senate Ag Committee member Roger Marshall, R-Kan., says the tariff reductions are good news and he hopes to see more soon.
“Reducing tariffs in Vietnam has been a priority for the agricultural industry for a long time,” Marshall said. “This is great news for Kansas farmers saddled with increasing input costs on fertilizer and crop protection products. We hope to hear more positive news about tariff reductions on distiller’s grains and ethanol for our biofuels industry soon.”
Story updated at 5:30 p.m. EST to include comments from Sen. Marshall.