Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan on October 1 suggested EU firms increase investments in Vietnam’s agriculture, in the direction of high-technology, green standards and environmental sustainability.
At a working session with Ambassador Pier Giorgio Aliberti, head of the EU Delegation to Vietnam, Hoan also called on the EU to help Vietnam improve capacity for its cooperatives and upgrade small-scale agricultural production infrastructure.
Vietnam is gearing towards transparent, responsible and green agriculture, and is making efforts to promote a quality-based and multivalued agricultural sector, according to the minister.
He suggested FDI firms from the EU export machinery, equipment, technologies and materials to Vietnam.
For Vietnam’s exports to the EU, the official proposed the EU send experts to Vietnam or establish a representative office in the Southeast Asian country to supervise food safety before the shipment.
Hoan described the EU as a potential market for tropical agricultural products, including those from Vietnam, noting that the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) has created more opportunities and momentum for trade cooperation between the two sides.
In the first eight months of this year, Vietnam earned US$2.38 billion from agro-forestry-fishery export to the EU, up 8.11% year-on-year. Its import value also reached VND542 million, a rise of 2.24%.
During the working session, Hoan also highlighted Vietnam’s efforts in implementing recommendations by the European Commission (EC) to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Combating the IUU fishing is a central task of the agricultural sector and an urgent need for Vietnam to help the country develop the fishery sector sustainably, demonstrate its responsibility and promote its prestige in the international arena.
The ministered thanked the EU for its support to Vietnam in this regard, and affirmed that Vietnam will make all-out efforts to implement relevant recommendations.
He appealed to the EU to soon remove the “yellow card” warning imposed on Vietnam as soon as possible.
Hoan suggested the EU help Vietnam build smart cold chain logistics connecting the Mekong Delta and Southeastern localities with Cai Mep-Thi Vai Port to boost Vietnam’s fruit export to Europe and the Middle East.
For his part, Aliberti said after two years of realising the Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (VPA/FLEGT), the two sides have cooperated and expected to have more in-depth, effective dialogues in the time ahead.
Vietnam will effectively implement the timber legality assurance (VNTLAS), he believed.
The EU would provide Vietnam with technical assistance to ensure cold storage for fruits and vegetables for export to the EU, he said, suggesting the two sides continue to seek solutions regarding animal and plant quarantine.
The minister and ambassador shared the view that there is ample room for trade cooperation between Vietnam and the EU in agriculture.