Vietnam, Australia hold second policy dialogue on agriculture

09:04 | 12/05/2018 Cooperation

Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources signed two agreements at the second high-level agricultural policy dialogue in Canberra on May 8.  

A delegation from Australia's Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Photo: VNA

The signed documents comprise a Letter of Intent on a strategy for agricultural research in 2017-2027 and a Memorandum of Understanding on the prevention of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU).

Under the co-chair of Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh and Australian Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and Water Resources Malcolm Thompson, the two sides reviewed the bilateral cooperation in agriculture and discussed various issues to boost farm produce trade such as approaching and opening markets for animal and plant products and devising policies for technical assistance.

They mentioned cooperation in fisheries and forestry in the coming time and shared policy priorities and challenges in agricultural research and development, water resources management, and organic food. Additionally, the two sides studied coordination mechanisms among working groups in specific fields along with the provision of official development assistance (ODA), and the enhancement of scientific research.

The relations between Australia and Vietnam as well as between Australia and other Southeast Asian countries have developed strongly in recent years, which are backed by the ASEAN-Australia Free Trade Agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) recently signed between the 11 countries.

Deputy Minister Le Quoc Doanh highlighted the comprehensive development in relations between Vietnam and Australia. Particularly, the agricultural cooperation between Vietnam and Australia has been promoted over the past few years with practical outcomes recorded, he said, adding that there is a lot of potential for stronger collaboration in the field.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh (C) speaks at the dialogue - Photo: VNA

The deputy minister hoped the two sides will step up technical support in agricultural cooperation and seek measures to boost bilateral trade to raise the trade turnover of farm produce soon.

Doanh asked Australia to re-open its market for Vietnamese fresh shrimp and reiterated the commitment of Vietnamese competent agencies to work with Australia to address this issue, he said.

Australia affirmed its plan to soon send a delegation to Vietnam to inspect the country’s safe and disease-free shrimp production chains and assess Vietnam’s testing capacity, towards allowing Vietnam to export fresh shrimp to its market. Deputy Secretary Thompson added that Australia will actively consider the import of Vietnamese fresh longans.

Additionally, the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) said it will continuously work with Vietnam to implement its strategy for agricultural research in 2017-2027 in the Southeast Asian country.

The center will send a working delegation to Vietnam to build a master plan relating to six priority fields including food safety and hygiene, climate change, land fertility, efficiency of cultivation and livestock systems, market connectivity, forestry, and aquaculture, which will be carried out in the northwest and Mekong Delta regions of Vietnam.

The second high-level policy dialogue on agriculture between Vietnam and Australia took place as part of the working visit to Australia from May 7-11 by a delegation from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development led by Deputy Minister Le Quoc Doanh.

During their stay in Australia, the delegation had a working session with Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud and made a fact-finding tour to Wagga Wagga – a leading agricultural center in Australia’s New South Wales state.

Theo VNA