Vietnam wants to bolster agricultural cooperation with Belgium

Vietnam hopes to further foster agricultural collaboration with Belgium, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan said at a meeting with the Belgium side in Brussels on September 9.

Noting Vietnam and Belgium have shared fruitful cooperation in agriculture with the formation of agricultural ties to a strategic partnership in 2018, Minister Hoan proposed that the two sides bolster the partnership on the basis of optimising their potential and advantages.

He suggested that the Belgium side create favourable conditions for Vietnamese and Belgian agro-forestry-fisheries products to enter each other market.

Belgium is currently the fifth biggest agro-forestry-fisheries market of Vietnam among EU countries. Minister Hoan expressed his hope that Belgium will continue supporting the development of waterway logistics and cold storage using the Belgian technology in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam, thus forming a network of transport for fresh agro-fisheries products from the region to Cai Mep port as well as Belgium's Antwep port and other major ports in the world.

He also asked for Belgium’s support in developing cocoa products to meet Belgium standards, so that Vietnamese cocoa will be attached to the well-known chocolate trademark of the European country.

Hoan affirmed that Vietnam will create favourable conditions for Belgian firms to invest and seek partnership in Vietnam’s agriculture as well as other strong sectors of Belgium such as logistics, saltwater desalination, remote sensing, and food preservation technologies.

Both sides should continue strengthening cooperation in technology research and transfer as well as training collaboration among training facilities and regions, he said, stressing that the two countries should make detail coopeation contents and mechanisms to implement the bilateral memorandum of understanding on food safety signed in October 2018.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development hopes to continue receiving ODA from Belgium to implement strategic cooperation contents with Belgium and boost its development, he said, adding that Vietnam is working hard to deal with illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) with a hope that the European Commission will remove the 'yellow card' on Vietnam's fisheries soon.

David Clarinval, Minister for Small Businesses, the Self-Employed, SMEs and Agriculture, Institutional Reform and Democratic Renewal of Belgium showed his wish to work with the Vietnamese side to promote the implementation of the bilateral agricultural strategic partnership, focusing on cooperation in personnel training, technology transfer, private investment encouragement, logistics development serving agricultural value chain.

The Belgian official agreed with Vietnam’s proposals on collaboration in implementing and expanding ODA projects in Vietnam, including that to build a cold warehouse in the Mekong Delta region and develop sustainable rice and cocoa, as well as training cooperation.

He hoped Vietnam will continue assisting and creating favourable conditions for Belgium investors in logistics port development serving the export of fresh fruits to European markets at the lower Cai Mep port.

Clarinval also highlighted the need to create conditions for Belgium's products with competitive advantage, including cherry and pork, to be present in the Vietnamese market.