To enter European markets successfully, every SME that exports any product needs to comply with 3 levels of compliance: regulations and agreements, buyer requirements, voluntary sustainability standards. Market opportunity and complexity often go together. Equipped with extensive knowledge and experience, we are here to help you identify and prevent export violations as well as develop and modify your products for European markets.

Regulations and agreements

Free Trade Agreement


EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is a new generation FTA between Vietnam and 28 European Union member states. The European Union and Vietnam signed a Trade Agreement and an Investment Protection Agreement on 30 June 2019 Exporting to EVFTA partner countries can boost your bottom line. EVFTA offers VN companies greater market access through reduced trade barriers such as tariff reduction and other provisions.

Please visit the Center For WTO and International Trade Vietnam Chamber of Commerce And Industry website for comprehensive information on the EVFTA.

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European regulations

Food safety, health control and contamination

Apart from the customs procedures, almost all mandatory requirements related to imported food into EU markets are related to food safety.

When exporting foods into the EU, you must comply with the General Food Law - the legislative framework regulation for food safety in Europe, set out in Regulation 178/2002/EC.

Europe is a complex market so that there are numerous different aspects of the food safety requirements, including:

  • Phytosanitary inspection
  • Official border control for food imported to the European Union
  • Control of contaminants
  • Mycotoxins control
  • Limited use of pesticides
  • Control of chlorate and perchlorate
  • Product composition requests
  • Safe packaging and informative labelling
  • Novel foods
  • Traceability
  • Tariff barriers

Buyer requirements

European buyers often require proof of any implemented food safety standards in the form of specific certificates issued by independent control bodies. Some of the buyers will have their own control lists and a number of different quality requirements. Aside from food safety and product quality aspects, there is an increasing demand for proof of sustainable and ethical business practices.

Food Safety Certification

Although food safety certification is not obligatory under European Legislation, it has become a must for almost all food European food importers. The most popular certification programs that European buyers will ask for are Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), International Featured Standards (IFS), British Retail Consortium Global Standards (BRCGS), Food Safety System Certification (FSSC 22000), ISO 22000, etc.

Laboratory control

In practice, food safety certification (although almost obligatory) is very often less important than physical approval of the products, so buyers in Europe frequently ask for laboratory tests. It is common practice in Europe that deliveries are accompanied with documentation from accredited laboratories that is not older than six months.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) requests

Social, environmental and ethical activities relating to CSR in the European markets can be implemented at each level of the supply chain. From farm and production level, to the processing of products, up to delivery to the consumer. Companies have different requirements for social responsibility.

Voluntary sustainability standards

Sustainability has become one of the most important topics on the official European agenda. Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) are rapidly increasing in global value chains. Consumers, mostly in developed countries, are willing to pay significant premiums for such standards. Moreover, businesses can benefit from using sustainability standards in different clusters, including operations, procurement, stakeholder engagement and sector-wide change.

Please see our supports to help you get Voluntary sustainability standards.

UEBT Certificate

UEBT is an international certification that demonstrates the company's commitment to sourcing with respect for people and biodiversity. Certification for the UEBT standard requires 2 audit steps: Membership assessment and certification audit.

UEBT certification includes 27 criteria and 154 compliance indicators that are upgraded and developed from 7 BioTrade principles. These compliance requirements ensure the company sources nature ingredients through a system that respects human rights, society and contributes to the conservation of local biodiversity within 50km from the farm/collection sites. In order for companies to contribute to biodiversity conservation, UEBT requires compliant companies to implement a Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP). BAP is a tool for planning and monitoring the activities undertaken by the company that contributes to the improvement of local biodiversity..

Fair Trade Certificate

Fairtrade Standards are designed to support the sustainable development of small producer organizations and agricultural workers in developing countries. The Fairtrade Standards incorporate a holistic blend of social, economic and environmental criteria. The standards contain both core requirements and development requirements aimed at improvements that benefit producers and their communities.

For all products Fairtrade standards require the buyers to pay a Fairtrade Minimum Price and/or a Fairtrade Premium to the producers and minimized and safe use of agrochemicals, proper and safe management of waste, maintenance of soil fertility and water resources, and no use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Fair for life Certificate

An internationally recognized programme, based on key baseline reference standards (International definitions of Fair Trade, ISO 26000, ILO conventions, social criteria of IFOAM, etc.) Fair for Life promotes an approach of Fair Trade that allows all producers and workers who are at a socio-economic disadvantage to access a wider range of social and economic benefits.

The commitment to Fair For life can be highlighted through logo use on products if every actor of the supply chain has been controlled according to the For life standard and under conditions.

Rainforest Alliance (RA) Certificate

Rainforest Alliance certification helps farmers produce better crops, adapt to climate change, increase their productivity, and reduce costs. These benefits provide companies with a steady and secured supply of certified products. Sourcing Rainforest Alliance Certified products also helps businesses meet consumer expectations and safeguard their brand’s credibility.