Market and Trade Data
U.S. Meat and Dairy Products Help
Meet Vietnamís Demand
Nguyen Thi Huong and John Wade
See also . . .
FAS Report VM6054
is a rapidly developing country. In 2005 Vietnamís GDP
(gross domestic product) grew at the remarkable rate of
8.4 percent, led by gains in construction, tourism, and
telecommunications. For 2006, GDP growth is forecast at
8 percent. The countryís economic development has
spurred consumer spending, which rose 21 percent in
2005. And Vietnamís per capita meat consumption is
increasing as well. The figures cited throughout this
article are based primarily on data from Vietnamís
General Statistics Office and Ministry of Agricultural
and Rural Development, and therefore differ from USDA
Vietnamese are big consumers of pork and prefer pork to
chicken and beef. In the Vietnamese diet, fresh meats
from recently slaughtered animals are still the favorite
animal protein source. However, people in the cities are
now also accepting frozen meats either produced
domestically or imported. They are also consuming more
ready-made foods, such as canned meats and sausages.
Frozen imported beef and chicken are used by restaurants
and hotels in big cities to meet their needs for meat
quality and hygiene.
Pointers and Progress
In conjunction with the Vietnam-U.S. bilateral accession
agreement for the WTO (World Trade Organization) signed
this year, Vietnam recognizes the U.S. meat and poultry
food safety system as equivalent to its own.
Accordingly, the Vietnamese government no longer
requires a HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control
Point) certificate and Certificate of Free Sale before
granting import permits for U.S. meats and poultry. The
only health certification now required is the USDA Food
Safety Inspection Serviceís Export Certificate of
Stock of Livestock Segments
In calendar 2005, Vietnamís livestock production made up
25 percent of the total value of its agricultural
production. The government expects the country will
raise the proportion of livestock to 30 percent by 2010
and 35 percent by 2015.
value of Vietnamís livestock sector in 2005 grew 11.6
percent, while the total agricultural sector increased
only by 3.2 percent. Increased swine and beef
production, and stabilization of the poultry sector in
the wake of outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian
influenza, account for the significant growth in the
livestock sectorís value.
Almost all of Vietnamís pork production is for local
demand; only 1-2 percent of it is exported. The
government hopes to become a major exporter of pork, but
strong and growing domestic demand and other countriesí
health restrictions make this unlikely anytime soon.
Vietnam imports some processed pork.
The countryís tariff rates will drop with its WTO
accession. But it will still likely meet most of its own
pork demand, except possibly for offal Ė and here the
Vietnamese affinity for cuts unpopular in Western diets
might result in significant imports.
This is Vietnamís largest meat import. In 2005, the
country imported $3.2 million worth (about 730 metric
tons). The imports came from a variety of sources,
including Argentina, the United States, Australia, New
Zealand, India, and Malaysia. Exports were very small,
valued at only $40,000, with Hong Kong the biggest
market. Due to low domestic beef production and limited
resources, particularly for grazing, beef imports are
expected to continue growing, especially to meet demand
in hotels and restaurants in big cities.
currently allows beef meat from the United States,
including bone-in, boneless, and offal products from
animals less than 30 months of age.
Vietnamís dairy cattle
population increased significantly from 41,241 head in
2001 to 104,120 head by 2005 after the country
instituted its dairy cattle development program. In
2003, Vietnamese dairy cattle production growth rate
peaked at 42 percent. The growth rate fell to 20 percent
in 2004 and to 9 percent in 2005 as milk prices
moderated and feed prices rose, particularly in winter.
In 2006, the growth rate of the dairy cattle population
continued to slow as profits stayed
Vietnamís fresh milk production swelled from
53,000 tons in 2000 to 198,000 tons in 2005. Both dairy
cow quality and yields have improved. High demand for
fresh dairy products, particularly in Vietnamís big
cities, is driving production. In 2005, per capita fresh
milk production reached 2.38 kg (1 kilogram = 2.2046
pounds), a 29-percent increase over the year before. But
milk production remains small even after recent gains,
and domestic dairies meet only about 22 percent of
After eliminating an import quota system in 2005,
Vietnamís dairy product imports swelled 47
percent to over $300 million. In 2006, Vietnam is on
track to exceed this record, with imports of $168
million through the first six months. Vietnam imported
dairy products from various countries, including the
United States, Australia, South Korea, and the
Netherlands. U.S. milk and milk product export volumes
have increased sharply, from 5,516 tons 2001 to 39,934
tons 2005, with 2006 on track to set another record.
Vietnamís dairy product import growth is forecast to
continue as improvements in living standards, especially
in big cities, boost demand well beyond domestic
In the three years before the highly pathogenic avian
influenza outbreaks began in late 2003, Vietnamís
poultry population grew 8.6 percent per year, with the
chicken population increasing 8.3 percent and the
waterfowl population 9.4 percent. In 2004, due to the
influenza outbreak, Vietnamís poultry population dropped
14 percent, and poultry meat production fell 15 percent.
the poultry sector stabilized as the situation improved.
The sector grew 0.08 percent in population and 1.7
percent in meat production. However, recovery will be
slow: the risk from new outbreaks persists; government
measures to control the disease inhibit expansion,
particularly in the duck population; and local producers
still hesitate to participate in this segment.
Prior to the avian influenza outbreaks, Vietnam
imported significant numbers of live poultry for
breeding. Imports fell dramatically during the avian
influenza outbreak due to production cutbacks and the
government curtailed and briefly banned foreign
shipments of live birds and poultry products from all
countries. Due to pressure from trading partners and
abatement of the disease, in January 2006 Vietnam lifted
the import ban for countries free from highly pathogenic
avian influenza, and its imports of live poultry and
poultry products have increased significantly.
High prices are fueling the current increases in
imports. This market should continue to be favorable to
U.S. suppliers in the near term at least. The extent to
which the domestic industry can expand in the long term
will determine how much imports will grow. However, high
Vietnamese demand for offal and dark meat cuts that are
relatively unpopular in the United States should
continue to create opportunities for U.S. exporters,
particularly if progress can be made in reducing
tariffs, which range up to 20 percent.
Thi Huong is an agricultural assistant and John Wade is
an agricultural counselor in the FAS Office of
Agricultural Affairs in Hanoi, Vietnam. E-mail: