HÀ NỘI – Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyễn Xuân Cường visited Belgium and the European Union last week to promote agricultural cooperation with the two partners.
At the four-day visit ending last Saturday, he also demonstrated Việt Nam’s efforts in fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Through a series of meetings, the Vietnamese minister urged the European Union to lift the yellow card, which was imposed on Việt Nam on October 23, 2017, due to its failure to meet the requirements on IUU fishing prevention.
In his meeting with Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Cuong reported about the current implementation of the European Union’s recommendations on anti-IUU fishing in Việt Nam, highlighting concerted efforts of the entire nation and challenges facing the effort.
Cuong expressed hope of improved cooperation between Việt Nam and the European Union in fighting IUU fishing and carrying out the Voluntary Partnership Agreement in line with the European Union’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade as well as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
The minister also had a working session with Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, during which he stressed the European Union’s significant role in Việt Nam’s farming sector in terms of partnership, investment and knowledge-technical transfer.
Highlighting the importance of the European Union- Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), Cường suggested both sides to soon ratify the pact to boost trade, particularly of agro-fishery-forestry products.
Cường asked the European Union to consider practical conditions for developing countries such as Việt Nam during its assessment and inspection of the seafood safety control system.
Regarding measures to implement the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) agreement, both the host and guest agreed to hold more dialogues to discuss the document content and implementation of SPS regulations in EVFTA.
Both the commissioners acknowledged and lauded Việt Nam’s drastic efforts in increasing laws and policies to counter IUU fishing and monitor food safety. They said the efforts would help stimulate the growth of comprehensive bilateral partnership and facilitate EVFTA’s signing and ratification.
The European Union announced it would send a technical team to Việt Nam in May to review the country’s actions against IUU fishing.
In another meeting with Alain Cadec, Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries, Cường talked about the measures employed by Việt Nam to deter IUU fishing and asked for Cadec’s support, in addition to the support of the European Union, to make the process more effective.
While in Brussels, the minister met Belgium’s Federal Minister for Agriculture Denis Ducarme to beef up farming cooperation with the European country.
Both ministers agreed to promote investment collaboration in agriculture, with Cường suggesting the Belgian side to assist Việt Nam in meeting standards and regulations of the country as well as the European Union.
Ducarme said Belgium prioritised collaboration with Việt Nam and expressed belief that bilateral farming engagements would expand in future.
Source: Vietnam News