Ha Noi — New Zealand and Viet Nam today added a new link to their flourishing agriculture relationship by signing an Agriculture Cooperation Arrangement at the first New Zealand - Viet Nam Agricultural Dialogue. The dialogue was held virtually by New Zealand Chief Executive of the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries, Mr Ray Smith, and Vice Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Dr Le Quoc Doanh.
At the dialogue, the two sides voiced their commitment to the two countries’ deepening agriculture and trade relationship. Smith and Doanh affirmed that the Strategic Partnership, which was jointly announced by Prime Ministers in July last year, has created a solid foundation for increasing bilateral agricultural cooperation and connections between the two countries.
Speaking at the dialogue, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries, Mr Ray Smith, emphasized that this is a valuable opportunity to consider what both sides can do together as they build resilience and vitality back into their agriculture economies following COVID-19.
The Agriculture Cooperation Arrangement will enable both sides to advance their key agricultural interests in enhancing bilateral trade, reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, promoting food safety, utilising agriculture research and technology, and in rural development.
Speaking at the ceremony, Vice Minister Le Quoc Doanh of MARD said: “Agriculture is critical to the economic wellbeing of our countries. Both nations are strong agriculture producers and exporters, with complementary products. The establishment of the New Zealand – Viet Nam Agricultural Dialogue and the signing of the Agriculture Cooperation Arrangement today will boost our connections, cooperation and two-way trade, in line with what our two Prime Ministers highlighted during last years’ Strategic Partnership dialogue.”
The New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries is already supporting agriculture cooperation with MARD with activities in plant health, veterinary epidemiology and electronic certification. These activities complement New Zealand’s ongoing development programme, which has a number of agriculture projects including the premium fruit development project in Tien Giang, the rural dam safety project in Central Viet Nam, and the safe vegetables project in Binh Dinh.
Ray Smith, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries said that New Zealand has developed one of the most efficient agriculture sectors in the world, with a reputation for cutting edge research and technology, robust and safe agricultural practices, and delicious and high-quality products. He expressed his hope that the newly signed cooperation arrangement will help build value and expand investment opportunities between the two countries: “We recognise that increased trade is not just about exporting more products, it's about an exchange of knowledge, expertise, technology, services, and investment. This two-way exchange benefits both of us.”
He added, “We also look forward to doing more to assist MARD’s greenhouse gas inventory capability through the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases.”
The two leaders confirmed their shared commitment to finalising new fruit access for each other this year so consumers can enjoy New Zealand strawberries and squash in Viet Nam and Viet Nam’s limes and pomelos in New Zealand.
Viet Nam is New Zealands’s 14th largest trading partner, with two-way trade valued at NZD$ 2 billion, at year end September 2020. While COVID-19 has posed some challenges, Viet Nam remains a promising market for New Zealand and vice versa due to robust demand for key agricultural products.