The flourishing agriculture relationship between New Zealand and Vietnam was lifted to a new height with the signing of an agriculture cooperation arrangement at the first New Zealand – Vietnam High-Level Dialogue on Agriculture Cooperation on February 24.
The dialogue was held virtually by Chief Executive of the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries, Ray Smith, and Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Le Quoc Doanh.
At the event, the two sides voiced their commitment to the two countries’ deepening agriculture and trade relationship.
Smith and Doanh affirmed that the Strategic Partnership, which was jointly announced by Prime Ministers in July last year, has created a solid foundation for increasing bilateral agricultural cooperation and connections between the two countries.
At the dialogue Smith emphasised that this is a valuable opportunity to consider what both sides can do together as they build resilience and vitality back into their agriculture economies following COVID-19.
The Agriculture Cooperation Arrangement will enable both sides to advance their key agricultural interests in enhancing bilateral trade, reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, promoting food safety, utilising agriculture research and technology, and in rural development.
Speaking at the ceremony, Doanh said that agriculture was critical to the economic well-being of our countries.
Both nations were strong agriculture producers and exporters, with complementary products, he said, adding that the establishment of the New Zealand – Vietnam Agricultural Dialogue and the signing of the Agriculture Cooperation Arrangement would boost their connections, cooperation and two-way trade, in line with what the two Prime Ministers highlighted during last years’ Strategic Partnership dialogue.
The New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries is already supporting agriculture cooperation with MARD with activities in plant health, veterinary epidemiology and electronic certification. These activities complement New Zealand’s ongoing development programme, which has a number of agriculture projects including the premium fruit development project in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang, the rural dam safety project in central Vietnam, and the safe vegetables project in Binh Dinh province.
Smith said that New Zealand has developed one of the most efficient agriculture sectors in the world, with a reputation for cutting-edge research and technology, robust and safe agricultural practices, and delicious and high-quality products.
He expressed his hope that the newly signed cooperation arrangement will help build value and expand investment opportunities between the two countries.
“We recognise that increased trade is not just about exporting more products, it's about an exchange of knowledge, expertise, technology, services, and investment. This two-way exchange benefits both of us,” he said.
He said New Zealand also looked forward to doing more to assist the MARD’s greenhouse gas inventory capability through the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases.
The two officials confirmed their shared commitment to finalising new fruit access for each other this year so consumers can enjoy New Zealand strawberries and squash in Vietnam and Vietnamese limes and pomelos in New Zealand.
Vietnam is New Zealand’s 14th largest trading partner, with two-way trade valued at NZD2 billion, at year-end September 2020. While COVID-19 has posed some challenges, Vietnam remains a promising market for New Zealand and vice versa due to robust demand for key agricultural products.