AFIA: New certificate makes it easier for US dry pet food companies to do business in Vietnam
The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) has welcomed the move.
The trade group outlined how it has spent the past few years urging APHIS to finalize its health certificate for exporting dry pet food products to Vietnam to make it easier for US companies to do business there.
The idea is that the new certificate for dry pet food will make shipping products to the Southeast Asian country more consistent and transparent.
AFIA CEO, Constance Cullman, commented: “APHIS’s negotiated export health certificates provide a clear and comprehensive set of guidelines for US exporters to follow. By complying with these regulations, US exporters can minimize the risk of their products being rejected or banned from foreign markets and ensure the continued success of their export business.”
The Vietnamese market provides opportunities for US pet food companies, given that the country has a rapidly growing middle class and an increasingly higher number of pet owners, said the AFIA.
In just the past five years, Vietnam’s total pet food imports increased 69%, according to AFIA data.
While US pet food exports to Vietnam remain small, removing market access roadblocks, such as the lack of a negotiated health certificate, will allow US exporters to better compete for this growing demand, said the representatives of the US animal feed and pet food production sectors.
Protections during disease outbreak
Meanwhile, last month also saw APHIS move to protect the US feed sector’s ability to export products in the event of a foreign animal disease outbreak.
The agency announced it had revised Veterinary Services (VS) form 16-4 in response to concerns that all animal feed manufacturers would be barred from exporting animal-based products amid a foreign animal disease outbreak in the US, under the previous language of the 16-4 health certificate.
“The VS 16-4 form has been one of those issues that keeps me up at night,” said Cullman in response. “Our ability to export animal-based products is a top priority for the AFIA and we very much appreciate APHIS for taking our call to action seriously.”
Under the previous form, the language certifies that “rinderpest, foot-and-mouth disease, classical swine fever, swine vesicular disease, African swine fever, and contagious bovine pleuropneumonia do not exist in the United States of America.”
As almost all animal-based feed products, pet food and treats are exported using the VS 16-4, should one of the listed foreign animal diseases occur, the disease statement on the certificate would invalidate the entire form, explained the AFIA, as the country could no longer claim the disease “does not exist in the US.”
With the statement moved to the additional declarations section, APHIS will be able to strike the specific disease from the form in real time without having to go through the arduous Office of Management and Budget review process for changing a government form.