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Vietnam willing to cooperate with the EU in building a global food system

There remains untapped potential for agricultural cooperation between Vietnam and the EU.

Vietnam stands ready to cooperate with the EU in various fields, especially in building a global food system amid growing uncertainties.

 Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh and European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski. Source: VGP

Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh stressed the view during a meeting with European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski on July 11.

According to Thanh, Janusz’s visit offers an opportunity for bilateral relations, especially in trade and agriculture.

Given rising challenges from climate change and concern over global food shortage, Vietnam’s focus on green agricultural production and cooperation with international partners are in line with its new agricultural development strategy and commitments made at COP26.

At present, the EU remains Vietnam’s key economic partner being the third-largest export market and the sixth-largest investor.

Thanh expected the EU to continue creating favorable conditions for Vietnam’s farm produce to enter the market, and asked the European commissioner to promote more investment from the EU into Vietnam’s agricultural sector.

“There remains huge potential for Vietnam-EU cooperation in the sector,  which both sides should further tap into in the coming time,” he added.

Since the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) kicked off on August 1, 2020, bilateral trade turnover has been on the rise.

In 2021, it reached over US$57 billion, representing an increase of 15% year on year.

The figure rose by 14.4% year-on-year in the first five-month period of this year, standing at nearly $26.2 billion.

 Overview of the meeting.

For his part, Janusz said this is his first visit to Vietnam as a European Commissioner for Agriculture. He noted the bloc expects to import tropical farm produce from Vietnam while working on several sustainable smart, environmentally friendly and climate-resilient agriculture projects in the country.

Janusz also shared his view on challenges to global food security, including the pandemic, and geopolitical tension.

To resolve this issue, Janusz expected the contribution of farmers, especially small farming households.

An estimate from the Food Agricultural Organization of the UN (FAO) noted smallholder farmers around the world till around 12% of all agricultural land but produce roughly 35% of the world’s food.  

Janusz added Vietnam has deep expertise in developing small-scale agricultural production, and could therefore share experience in this regard.

He expressed his support for Vietnam’s efforts in sustainable agricultural development, especially on a small scale, and called for the country to continue boosting smart and sustainable agricultural production.

At the meeting, Thanh also briefed Janusz on Vietnam’s efforts in addressing concerns of the EU related to illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the country, and called for the EU to soon lift the yellow card against Vietnam's seafood exports.

Janusz in response acknowledged Vietnam’s progress in combating the IUU issue and said he would forward the information to an EU commissioner responsible in this regard.