Official urges optimisation of FTA to boost Vietnam-Russia agricultural trade

Friday, 2021-04-23 10:30:32
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At the meeting. (Photo: Bnews/VNA)
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NDO/VNA – The Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the Russian Ministry of Agriculture held the second meeting of the countries’ agricultural working group and an agricultural business forum via videoconference on April 22.

MARD Deputy Minister Phung Duc Tien called on both sides to push ahead with further opening their countries’ markets to each other’s agricultural products and work towards mutual recognition so as to reduce barriers and the time needed to license fisheries and animal farming businesses.

This is the foundation for Vietnamese and Russian enterprises to continue promoting trade and fully optimise preferential treatment under the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), he said.

The official noted that the countries’ agricultural cooperation is focusing on trade.

Bilateral trade averaged US$4.5 billion annually between 2018 and 2020, about 18% – 20% of which, equivalent to US$900 million, came from the trading of farm produce – a relatively modest figure compared to the countries’ economic potential and comprehensive strategic partnership.

Vietnam mainly exports coffee, aquatic products, vegetables, and fruit to Russia while mostly importing wheat, aquatic products, wood, rubber, and recently pork from the latter.

Tien held that as agricultural products of Vietnam and Russia do not directly compete with but are complementary to each other, the two sides should capitalise on their own advantages and strong products to achieve the trade target of US$10 billion in the near future.

With 139 projects worth US$943.77 million, Russia ranked 25th among the 144 countries and territories investing in Vietnam as of December 2020. Meanwhile, Vietnam had 25 investment projects worth nearly US$3 billion in Russia.

He asked Russia to work closely with Vietnam to foster partnerships in agricultural investment, as well as in the application of new and advanced technology to agricultural and aquatic processing so as to reduce production cost and enhance competitiveness.

The two sides should also coordinate to organise both online and offline events to promote trade and deal with technical obstacles, the deputy minister added.

Russian Deputy Minister of Agriculture Sergey Levin said despite numerous difficulties caused by the pandemic’s impacts, the countries have maintained frequent meetings on trade and investment.

He also affirmed the potential and prospect of agricultural cooperation and trade, noting that his country wishes to develop bilateral ties.

Russia will send a representative to its embassy in Vietnam to strengthen trade links in the time to come, he added.

At the event, the Miratorg group of Russia and the Huong Viet company of Vietnam signed a memorandum of understanding under which the former will supply meat and wheat products for Vietnam, and the latter aquatic, coffee, cashew, and dried fruit products for Russia.