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Apr 13, 2022 / 16:49

Canada requested to open doors to Vietnam farm produce

Trade appears to be a key pillar in bilateral relations as both countries are signatories of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Vietnam has asked Canada to continue opening the market for its farm produce in joint efforts to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Vietnam's Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son (R) and Canada's Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly in Hanoi on April 13. Photos: Baoquocte 

Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son made the request to his counterpart Mélanie Joly in a meeting in Hanoi on April 13 during her visit to Vietnam, the second stop in her Southeast Asia tour including Indonesia to reinforce the relationship with the region on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the Canada-ASEAN cooperation.

Son stressed the importance of making the most of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and mutual recognition of vaccine passports for the recovery plans

At the meeting, Mélanie Joly highlighted the role of economic and trade ties in the relations, affirming more support to Vietnam in the cause of climate response and its net-zero journey.

Bilateral trade continues to grow despite the economic downturn due to the pandemic. In 2021, the two-way trade totaled US$6 billion, up 19% year on year, according to Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In the three-day visit to Vietnam starting on April 12, Mélanie Joly will meet with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien to underscore Canada and Vietnam’s long-standing bilateral ties in the lead-up to the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2023.

She will also visit the northern province of Thai Nguyen to meet with ethnic minority women and learn more about how Canada’s development assistance is helping to strengthen women-led businesses in the context of climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic.

 The two top diplomats at the meeting on April 13.

Canada-Vietnam relations

This year the two countries commemorate the 5th anniversary of the Comprehensive Partnership.

Since 2015, Vietnam has been Canada’s largest trading partner in ASEAN.

Canada is committed to pursuing new opportunities to deepen trade and economic ties with Vietnam. During Prime Minister Trudeau’s visit to Vietnam in November 2017, the Vietnam-Canada Comprehensive Partnership Agreement was signed by both Prime Ministers.

The Comprehensive Partnership Agreement encompasses diplomatic and political issues, trade and investment, development cooperation, defense and security, cultural and academic exchange, science and technology, and people-to-people ties.

On January 10, 2022, the two countries established the Vietnam-Canada Joint Economic Committee (JEC), a non-legally binding mechanism dedicated to advancing trade and economic cooperation between the countries. This mechanism presided at the Deputy Minister level, will provide opportunities to discuss current and emerging trade and commercial issues. The JEC is a key contribution to stronger economic and trade ties between Canada and Vietnam, as part of the Comprehensive Partnership.

Vietnam, which has been a member of CPTPP since January 2019, is a strategic economic partner that plays an important role in advancing Canada’s trade diversification efforts in the region.

Canada has been a trusted partner in Vietnam’s development for more than 30 years. Since 1990, Canada has contributed $1.7 billion in development assistance to support Vietnam’s development and poverty reduction efforts, closely aligned to Vietnam’s strategic priorities, according to the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Canada’s development objective in Vietnam is to reduce poverty by supporting growth that works for everyone and gender equality and women’s economic empowerment. Through the projects, they are supporting more inclusive policy and legislative development, entrepreneurship and small- and medium-sized enterprises, agricultural value chain development, and greater access to gender-responsive financial and business development services in the Southeast Asian country.

Canada-ASEAN ties

Canada is one of 11 ASEAN Dialogue Partners. Dialogue partners cooperate on political and security issues, regional integration, economic interests, inter-faith dialogue, transnational crime and counterterrorism, disaster risk reduction, and other areas.

As a bloc, ASEAN is Canada’s 6th largest trading partner. In 2018, the Canada-ASEAN merchandise trade reached $25.1 billion.

Canada’s trade and investment in Southeast Asia are expanding quickly, not only in volume but across many sectors, including oil and gas, mining, high tech, telecommunications, agri-food, financial services, aviation, and consumer goods.

On November 16, 2021, Canada and ASEAN launched negotiations toward a Canada-ASEAN free trade agreement (FTA). This potential agreement would help create new market opportunities for Canadian goods and services while supporting a more transparent and predictable environment for trade and investment. The two sides are currently discussing the next steps, including the first round of negotiations.

Canada has trade commissioners in each of the 10 ASEAN member states, being active in many sectors, including aerospace, defense and security, extractive industries, information and, communications technologies, infrastructure, sustainable technologies, clean technology, and education.

On April 11 during her visit to Indonesia, Mélanie Joly met with Michael Tene, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for the ASEAN Political-Security Community to reaffirm the valuable cooperation and growing partnership between Canada and ASEAN.

The two sides took note of Canada’s significant contributions across the three ASEAN community pillars, including the Canada-ASEAN Scholarships and Educational Exchanges for Development, strong support to advance the Women, Peace and Security Agenda through the ASEAN Regional Forum and development cooperation, and the negotiations toward an ASEAN-Canada Free Trade Agreement.

Minister Joly underlined Canada’s commitment to a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific, sharing her government’s vision for a comprehensive Indo-Pacific strategy. The strategy underscores ASEAN’s significance, contributing to deepening diplomatic, economic and defense partnerships and promoting sustainable development objectives in the region.