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How to import pepper from Vietnam?

 

Vietnam is one of the famous countries for producing the best pepper types with a huge supply. Since the demand for pepper from the world is huge, it is one of the key agricultural products of Vietnam. So is it challenging to import pepper from Vietnam and what is the import process like? This article guides the four steps to import pepper from Vietnam.

Import pepper from Vietnam: Market overview

Vietnam controls the majority of the world’s pepper production and supply, so many importers choose to import pepper from Vietnam. Regarding the pepper industry in Vietnam, the country produces nearly 40% of the world’s peppers. The output of pepper in Vietnam varies depending on the season, but it is typically between 200 and 280 thousand tonnes. Dak Lak and Dak Nong produce over half of Vietnam’s pepper, followed by Dong Nai, Gia Lai, and Ba Ria-Vung Tau. The majority of pepper in Vietnam is collected between January and April.

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Pepper growing areas

High price fluctuation is one of Vietnam’s difficulties and also difficult for importers who import pepper from Vietnam. Prices were very low in 2019 and 2020 due to massive production and excess, and many farmers have given up pepper farming due to low profitability. This resulted in a 10-20% decrease in output. Prices rose again in 2020/2021, however, the Vietnam Pepper Association encouraged farmers not to increase their pepper harvest in 2021 to avoid oversupply.

Vietnamese processors import huge volumes from Brazil, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Malaysia in order to ensure a constant supply and make use of the country’s large production and cleaning facilities. As a result, black pepper shipped from Vietnam is frequently a combination of several origins.

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A pepper farmer in Vietnam

Vietnam is the world’s top exporter of pepper.  Countries that import pepper from Vietnam can be listed as The United States accounting for 21% of Vietnamese pepper exports, followed by China (18%), the United Arab Emirates (5%), India (5%), and Germany (4%). Vietnam’s pepper exports to Europe expanded rapidly, reaching 39 thousand tonnes in 2020. Germany has the greatest market share for Vietnamese pepper in Europe, accounting for 39%, followed by the Netherlands (24%), the United Kingdom (20%), and France (17%) (source: OEC data)

Import pepper from Vietnam: Different types of pepper

Pepper is the dried berry of Piper nigrum. The term ‘’peppercorn’’ is often used to avoid confusion with “green pepper” and “red pepper”, which are also used to describe other types of spices and vegetables. There are four types of pepper you can find in Vietnam: Black pepper, White pepper, Green peppercorn and Red peppercorn. You should distinguish these pepper varieties if you want to import pepper from Vietnam. They are all different varieties of pepper plants, but they are prepared and processed differently. In addition, most of the peppers traded in the market now are Black pepper and White pepper.

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types of pepper

The first step you should apply to import pepper from Vietnam is to know what types of pepper you will buy. Below are details about four common types of pepper:

Black Pepper: Black pepper is the most common type of pepper imported from Vietnam and is made by picking the berries when they are still green, then allowing them to dry in the sun until they turn dark and wrinkled. Black pepper is typically more pungent and has a stronger flavour than the other types of pepper. There are many types of black pepper based on its density: 300 GL, 400 GL, 450 GL, 500 GL, 550 GL, 570 GL, 580 GL or 600 GL. The unit GL is used to measure the density of the black pepper. The higher the density is, the more oil content is and the higher price of the black pepper is. Types of black pepper are also categorized based on production quality, which consists of FAQ and MC quality. FAQ stands for Fair Average Quality, while MC stands for Machine Cleaning. The biggest difference between these two qualities is the level of admixture. Normally, FAQ black pepper has an admixture of 1% max, while MC black pepper has an admixture of 0.2% max. And the price of FAQ black pepper is lower than that of MC black pepper.

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Black pepper

White Pepper: Ripe berries with the pericarp removed. These are basically the seeds of peppercorns. White pepper is commonly produced by soaking fully ripe berries in water. This process decomposes the pericarp, which can then easily be removed. The flavour of white pepper is milder and less pungent compared to black pepper. White pepper is often used in dishes where a black speck would be visible, such as in white sauces or light-coloured dishes.

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White pepper

Green Peppercorn: Green peppercorn is made from unripe berries that are picked before they turn red. They are then either dried or preserved in brine. Green peppercorns are less pungent than black pepper and have a fresher flavour. In the production process, blanching and controlled tunnel drying are commonly used to prevent oxidation and preserve the green colour. For the European market, using sulfur dioxide as a colour-preserving additive for dried green peppercorns is not allowed.

Red Peppercorn:  Red peppercorn is made from fully ripe berries that are left on the vine to mature. They are sun-dried and have a sweeter, fruitier flavour than black pepper. Red peppercorns are also less pungent than black pepper. This pepper is generally the priciest. Actually, red peppercorn is not common for international buyers to import pepper from Vietnam.

Four steps to import pepper from Vietnam

It is important to do research about specific steps and requirements during the pepper import procedure. The import procedure may vary from country to country. If you want to import pepper from Vietnam, this step-by-step guide is helpful for you.

Step 1: Finding a reputable supplier

There are plenty of cases where exporters scammed buyers by not shipping the goods after the buyer make a payment. Or the seller may deliver goods of lower quality than agreed upon. Therefore, doing extensive research on your supplier before you import pepper from Vietnam is paramount of importance.

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To identify potential pepper exporters from Vietnam, try reading credited Vietnamese publications and looking for businesses that are highly recommended. Try using the keywords “import pepper from Vietnam” in your search on Google or Bing. Some other keywords you can try are “Vietnam leading pepper company, “buy pepper in bulk from Vietnam,” “pepper suppliers from Vietnam,” “Vietnam wholesale pepper,” etc. Additionally, you can use the same keywords to search on social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.

To import pepper from Vietnam you can also visit B2B websites such as YellowPages, one of the most prestigious websites that lists the best businesses operating in all sectors in Vietnam, including agriculture export. As an alternative, you might search on Tridge, a reliable website for acquiring global food and agricultural products. To be listed on Tridge, agricultural businesses must offer transparent information and high-quality goods. You can find many good pepper companies here to import pepper from Vietnam. A trustworthy supplier will have an information-rich website system, scientific articles that include comprehensive knowledge about products, an export guide and B2B trading tips.

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finding pepper suppliers on Tridge

The next step you should do to import pepper from Vietnam is to try contacting the list of potential suppliers you have made to find out more about the quality of the products they offer. This allows you to determine if they are a true company to cooperate with in the long term. Never be afraid to request pictures of your suppliers’ products, factories, growing zones, quality certificates, company licenses, B/L of prior orders, or other pertinent documentation from them. To determine if they truly comprehend the things they are providing, you could also ask some questions about their expertise to see if they know how to import pepper from Vietnam.

Step 2: Knowing the requirements to import pepper from Vietnam

Once you have decided which kinds of pepper you are interested in, you should research the import laws in your country. There are three different kinds of requirements that you must be aware of:

Quality requirements: When you import pepper from Vietnam, it is important to ensure that the product has been produced, processed, stored, packed, and labelled in facilities that meet proper sanitation standards and general food safety requirements. The specific regulations for imported pepper will vary depending on the country of import.

Document requirements: Before you import pepper from Vietnam, you should directly contact the customs authority in your country to know which kinds of documents you must have to import pepper. After that, you should require the exporter to prepare a full set of documents so that you can use them to import pepper from Vietnam. Here is a list of popular documents for pepper import that exporters in Vietnam must give importers:

  • Bill of Lading
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Packing list
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Certificate of Fumigation
  • Certificate of Phytosanitary
  • Certificate of Cargo Insurance
  • Other special documents depending on requirements from the country of import such as Certificate of Quality and Weight, Health Certificate, Certificate of Analysis, Certificate of Conformity, etc.

Import Duty: Check the import duty that your country levies on pepper before importing them and reselling them. Knowing the import duty helps you determine exactly the cost and revenue of the consignment if you import pepper from Vietnam.

Below are the HS codes of pepper products for your reference:

  • Whole grain pepper: 090411
  • Ground pepper: 090412
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Import duty for pepper in some countries

Step 3: Negotiate the terms and sign the contract to import pepper from Vietnam

After choosing the right products to import pepper from Vietnam, you will negotiate a contract with the seller. The sales contract will include terms of goods, terms of payment, terms of time, terms of delivery, and each party’s responsibilities and obligations.

Terms of goods: This term state the name of the pepper products, their specification, package and quantity.  Here are the most common parameters for specification to import pepper from Vietnam:

  • Moisture content: The standard moisture level for black and white pepper is 12-13% max
  • Foreign matter or Admixture: pepper must be free from foreign matters, foreign odours, diseases, and any other disorders. The common level of admixture for pepper is 0.2% – 1% max.
  • Density of peppercorns: Whole pepper is sorted by density, which influences the price of the product. Some popular kinds of pepper density are: 500 G/L, 550 G/L, 570 G/L, 580 G/L, 600 G/L, and 630 G/L.
  • Piperine content: According to the Codex Standard, piperine content in black pepper must be at least 2% for whole pepper and 3.5% for ground pepper, while for white pepper, the content should be at least 3% for whole pepper and 4% for ground pepper. However, buyers who import pepper from Vietnam sometimes have higher expectations and may ask for higher piperine content.
  • Ash content: the maximum content of total ash for white and green pepper is 3.5%, while it is 7% for black pepper. The acid-insoluble ash limit is set at 1.5% for black pepper and at 0.3% for white and green pepper.
  • Volatile (essential) oils: To enter the high-end market, the minimum essential oil content should be 2ml/100g in black pepper, 1.5ml/100g in white pepper, and 1ml/100g in green pepper.

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Regarding the package, Polyethylene bag is the favoured packaging when buyer import pepper from Vietnam. The size of the packaging varies depending on the buyer, but it is usually 25kg bag. The dimensions should conform to standard pallet sizes (800mm x 1,200mm and 1,000mm x 1,200mm).

For retail sales, you should aim for packaging weighing between 20g and 40g. Common kinds of packages for pepper retail sales are plastic bags, glass containers and paper bags.

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Package for pepper (25kg PP white bag)

Terms of payment: This term state the method that the buyer will pay money to the seller. To import pepper from Vietnam, there are typically two commonly used payment methods in the trade.

The first of which is the L/C (Letter of Credit). This method allows for secure payment transactions between banks on behalf of both the buyer and seller. It ensures that payments are made once both parties have fulfilled the terms and conditions of the deal. It’s particularly useful for buyers with limited credit history. This method is advantageous for importers as it allows them to hold off on payment until they receive their full shipment of pepper.

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L/C payment

The final payment method is T/T (Telegraphic transfer). This is a method of transferring money through a bank by means of a money transfer system such as Swift or Telex. There are two stages to do this: Prepaid Money Transfer, where the importer pays an amount of money in advance to the exporter before the shipment, and T/T after shipment, where the importer pays the exporter after receiving the consignment of pepper.

Term of time: This term state the lead time to import pepper from Vietnam. If the seller delivers the goods late to the buyer, the seller may pay a penalty fee for late delivery.

Term of delivery: Pepper and other agricultural products are often transported by sea due to the low cost and safety measures it provides for the quality of the goods. To import pepper from Vietnam, a 20ft dry container can hold 15 tons of pepper, while a 40ft dry container can hold 27 tons of pepper. When it comes to terms of delivery, both the seller and buyer must agree on the time of delivery, including the estimated departure and arrival times of the vessel, as well as the ports of loading and discharge. They also need to agree on the specific terms used in the contract such as FOB or CNF. As per the INCOTERM 2010, when the FOB term is used, the importer is responsible for booking the vessel and paying the shipping fee, while when the CNF term is used, the exporter is liable for vessel booking and paying the shipping fee.

Step 4: Monitoring the shipment and receiving the goods

When you import pepper from Vietnam by sea, the exporter will keep an eye on and track the entire packing process to keep the importer informed. The importer will receive an Arrival Notice from the shipping company at least one day before the ship’s expected arrival date. After that, the importer will need to take delivery orders (D/O) to receive the consignment of pepper. The D/O is issued by the carrier and allows the importer to obtain the goods, it shows who is in possession of the goods and to whom the goods will be delivered.

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Customs clearance to import pepper from Vietnam: Every item that is imported into a country must go through a customs process for proper inspection, appraisal, assessment, and evaluation. This allows customs officials to charge the appropriate customs duty and check the commodities to prevent illegal imports. Each country will require different documents for the customs clearance process. The importer should research the procedure for making customs clearance in their country and prepare the necessary documents. This can be a complicated process, if you are not able to import pepper from Vietnam by yourself, you should hire a forwarding agent or broker to handle it for you.

Import pepper from Vietnam with K-Agriculture factory

Many importers choose to import directly from factories because Vietnam now has over 200 pepper processing and trade firms, with fifteen main enterprises accounting for 70% of the total export volume. Foreign-invested enterprises, such as Olam (headquartered in Singapore with an international presence), Nedspice (the Netherlands), and Harris Freeman, account for roughly 30% of the export market (a US-based company where the Harris Spice division is a part of the Indian Jayanti group).

K-Agriculture Factory is one of the leading pepper factories in Vietnam. K-Agriculture specializes in the production of black and white pepper. We are proud to have hundreds of overseas buyers who import pepper from Vietnam. Some of our main markets are UAE, the USA, the UK, the Netherlands, etc. And recently, we have just exported 20 containers of black pepper to the Malaysian market at the end of the year 2022.

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K-Agriculture Factory

Contact K-Agriculture factory at: +84 855 555 094 (WhatsApp) to be guided on instruction of how to import pepper from Vietnam

Import pepper from Vietnam: Price of pepper

The majority of buyers import pepper from Vietnam as an ingredient for the food service and food processing industries, and retail price margins are not the greatest approach to getting market insights. Below is the price range of pepper from K-Agriculture Factory. Since the pepper price is not stable, please contact us to get the newest quotation.

Type of pepper FOB Price (USD/MT)
Black pepper 500 GL FAQ 2800 – 3000
Black pepper 550 GL FAQ 2900 – 3100
Black pepper 570 ASTA 3100 – 3300
White pepper  4400 – 4600

If you are interested in K-Agriculture Factory – the leading pepper exporter in Vietnam, please:

  • Visit the website: https://k-agriculture.com/ to get more information on pepper products
  • Or contact the hotline: +84 855555094
  • Or send to email: sales@k-agriculture.com

K-Agriculture employees will reply promptly to deliver the needed information at any time during the week and will help partners import pepper from Vietnam. Furthermore, K-Agriculture offers free samples. The importer’s representative (if accessible in the host nation) can speak directly with the K-Agriculture’s seller in order to verify the order’s provenance.

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    About author Camila Nguyen

    She has 13 years experience in connecting B2B customers around the world and provide best-quality agricultural products from Vietnam to them. She would love to share her knowledge about agricultural products through the blogs. You can contact her on Whatsapp via number: +84 84 4444 867 to get the free consultancy

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