04 October 2021, Vietnam: Minister Le Minh Hoan proposed the EU to assist in improving governance capacity, infrastructure and logistics at cooperatives and inter-cooperatives in the Mekong Delta.
Improve the capacity of Mekong Delta’s cooperatives
The meeting aimed to promote extensive cooperation between Vietnam and the EU in the field of agriculture, especially promoting trade in agricultural, forestry and fishery products after the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) came into effect on August 1st, 2020.
Sharing with the Ambassador about his recent trip to Europe, Minister Le Minh Hoan said that many cooperative and inter-cooperatives models in Europe are operating very effectively from which Vietnam can learn a lot
Minister Le Minh Hoan asked the Ambassador to help attract EU businesses to increase investment in Vietnamese agriculture in the direction of high technology, deep processing as well as application of green and sustainable agriculture standards, and create a close connection with local businesses and farmers.
Minister Le Minh Hoan accordingly proposed the Head of the Delegation establish a group of experts in the field of food hygiene and safety, quality management, and agro-product traceability to work with Vietnam before the country’s agricultural products are exported to the European market, avoiding the situation of products being returned because they do not meet the technical criteria. The European side can also assess Vietnam’s responsible agricultural production activities.
After listening to the sharing of Minister Le Minh Hoan, Ambassador Aliberti affirmed that the EU is ready to provide technical assistance as proposed by Vietnam: “It is very important to ensure the processing and logistics procedures as well as the quality of fruit and vegetable products originating from the Mekong Delta. We highly appreciate models such as in Cai Mep – Thi Vai port and are ready to support the cold storage chain for Vietnamese agricultural products.”
The EU market – grand potential
Minister Le Minh Hoan and Ambassador Aliberti agreed that both sides still have a lot of room to promote agro-product trades. It is therefore essential to consider promoting trade in items such as Vietnamese rice, vegetables and fruits from both Vietnam and the EU, processed products, products with geographical indications, etc.
Europe has long been known as Vietnam’s third largest market for agricultural, forestry and fishery products. The items exchanged between the two parties are complementary and not competitive. Since the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement came into effect on August 1st, 2020, agro – forestry – fishery trades between both sides have increasingly prospered, reaching USD 457 billion in 2020.
Even in the difficult context of the Covid-19 pandemic, in the first 8 months of 2021, Vietnam’s agricultural, forestry and fishery exports to the EU reached USD 2.38 billion (up 8.11% over the same period in 2020), while imports reached USD 542 million (up 2.24% over the same period in 2020).
Regarding the potential improvements for Vietnam’s agriculture sector, Ambassador Aliberti shared that the EU currently has a number of pioneering policies in agriculture such as the Green Deal, the Farm-to-folk Strategy, the Circular Economy, Biodiversity, and Nature conservation. These policies will be useful references for the Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to develop a strategy for sustainable agricultural and rural development in the 2021-2030 period with a vision to 2050.
Vietnam can accordingly develop a multi-value integrated growth model in the direction of high technology, diversity and sustainability, utilize resources rationally, protect the ecological environment, ensure the conservation of biodiversity.