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Trade ministry orders compulsory quality checks on coffee exports
09 | 06 | 2007
The compulsory examination on coffee quality will be conducted before any export consignment can pass customs. The regulation will be valid as of October 1, 2007, stipulated by deputy minister of trade Luong Van Tu after a series of Vietnam coffee export consignments were rejected on quality grounds.
In the 2006-2007 crop, LIFFE (London international financial and futures exchange) alone rejected importing 708,300 bags, 88% of which were sourced from Vietnam, an increase of 19% compared to the previous crop.

Prior to that, 600,000 coffee bags were refused at Antwerp port in Belgium in the 2005-2006 crop.

Also in the 2005-2006 crop, the International Coffee Organisation (ICO) made the classification on imported coffee at 10 different ports in Europe. Among the 1.5 million rejected bags exported by 17 countries and territories, there were 1 million bags (72%) coming from Vietnam. The large proportion of rejected coffee has made Vietnamese products look bad.

At a conference on the prospect of Vietnam-made coffee held in March, former Chair of the Vietnam Coffee and Cocoa Association (Vicofa) Doan Trieu Nhan acknowledged that Vietnam was not listed among the 25 nations which voluntarily write down on the certificate of origin about the quality of export coffee.

Explaining this, Nhan said that Vietnamese companies were not informed about the implementation of the ICO's Resolution No 420 because Vietnam had its national standard TCVN 4193:2005. Though the standard has been recognised by ICO, it has not been applied by both the sellers and buyers.

"This should be seen as a weak point in exports' quality management," said Nhan. Recently, many international institutions have given warnings about the bad quality of Vietnam-made product, which is said to meet the quality of 3-4 class.

Currently, most of domestic coffee processors still follow the out-of-date standard TCVN 4193-93 with primary requirements on percentage of moisture, broken nuts and impurities. Meanwhile, the new standard TCVN 4193:2005 recognised by ICO, had not been applied.

Deputy minister of Trade Luong Van Tu has stressed the necessity of the application of the new standard in quality management, otherwise, Vietnam will lose the export markets. Tu has stipulated that as of October 1, compulsory examination will be taken on coffee exports before shipping to find out if the exports can meet TCVN 4193:2005 standard. The consignments of export will only get customs clearance if exporters can show the certificates on exports quality.

The total coffee output for the 2006-2007 is expected to reach 15.5 million bags, of which Vietnam will export some 900,000 tonnes. It is estimated that the total coffee export turnover will be US$1.5 billion, the highest level so far.

Source: Intellasia
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