Vietnam – Finland: Strengthening cooperation in food and forestry
14 October 2022, Vietnam: The visit to Vietnam by the Minister Antti Kurvinen and the business delegation is an opportunity for both sides to promote cooperation in agriculture.
The visit to Vietnam by Minister Antti Kurvinen and the Finnish business delegation is an opportunity for the two sides to promote agricultural cooperation after more than two years since the EVFTA officially took effect.
On October 10, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan had a meeting with Minister of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) of Finland Antti Kurvinen at the headquarter of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) in Hanoi.
The MARD always considers Finland an important partner in science, technology and development cooperation, and highly regards Finland’s close cooperation and effective support over the past time, especially in the fields of forestry, clean water and environmental sanitation.
At the first high-level meeting between the two ministries in Vietnam, Minister Le Minh Hoan and Minister Antti Kurvinen exchanged specific contents of interest and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the field of agro-products – food and forestry. The goal is to further promote bilateral cooperation worthy of the long-time friendship between the two countries.
Minister Antti Kurvinen said that the delegation of the Minister and the business delegation of Finland this time consisted of three sectors covered by the MAF. “We have food companies that are really eager to start the import and export of Finnish food to Vietnam. We also have expertise companies in the water sector and companies that promote the use of forests. I’m asking if we could have a possibility to talk about all three sectors, some key points which both sides have.”
Both countries hold certain advantages in agriculture, forestry and fisheries (AFF). Vietnam in particular has advantages in the production and export of agricultural, forestry and fishery products as Vietnam’s AFF exports in 2021 reached USD 48.6 billion. At the same time, Vietnam is a potential market with nearly 100 million people and stable economic growth of 6-7%/year, serving as a potential gateway to the Southeast Asian market of 650 million people – a very dynamic developing economy.
In the context of development to implement the message of the Prime Minister of Vietnam at COP26 and “the 2021-2030 Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development Development Strategy – vision to 2050”, the Vietnam side hopes that countries, especially countries in the EU, would provide support and technical advice so that Vietnam can attain sufficient resources during the transition process.
Regarding the cooperation program, Minister Le Minh Hoan suggested Finland strengthen cooperation in the field of forestry; consider having a special incentive mechanism to continue the support in terms of resources so that Vietnam can strengthen the maintenance and development of the Forest Management Information System (FORMIS); strengthen capacity in forest governance which includes the implementation of CITES. At the same time, the leader of Vietnam’s agriculture sector asked Finland to coordinate with the EU to continue supporting Vietnam to implement the Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (VPA/FLEGT), promoting the export of legal timber from Vietnam to the EU.
The two sides should jointly create a favorable mechanism for businesses, especially enterprises in the fields of forestry, fisheries, innovation, and processing for import and export so that enterprises can gain more opportunities to approach, study and cooperate in business and investment. The two sides also need to consider creating a favorable mechanism for commodity associations and farmer groups to exchange information and cooperate in training, technology transfer, trade and investment.
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