Viet Nam - U.S. Agricultural cooperation: reliability and mutual benefit

From May 11 to 17, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh made a working trip to the United States and the United Nations. Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and leaders of ASEAN countries attended a Special Summit to celebrate the 45th anniversary of ASEAN - U.S. Dialogue Relations on May 12 and 13 in Washington, D.C., at the invitation of U.S. President Joe Biden.

During the trip, Vietnamese Prime Minister - Pham Minh Chinh met and worked with high-ranking officials and large U.S. corporations. In addition, the Prime Minister attended commercial, tourism, and investment promotion activities and met the members of the Vietnamese community in the U.S.

The trip left a strong impression, opening up new cooperation opportunities, gaining understanding between the parties, and promoting trade and international cooperation relations.

On the sidelines of the Prime Minister's working trip to the U.S., the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and cooperated with partners to hold a seminar to connect Viet Nam - United States agricultural enterprises.

Meeting between the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture
At the meeting with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on May 11, 2022, Minister Le Minh Hoan emphasized that Viet Nam has considered the U.S. an essential agriculture partner for many years. Along with 27 years of normalizing Viet Nam-US relations, the two ministries have implemented many substantive and practical cooperation activities.

The minister said that the Government of Viet Nam has approved and been promptly deploying the Strategy for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development and orienting Viet Nam to become a country responsible for food security and the global environment.

To contribute to the performance of Viet Nam's commitments at COP26, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has led to carrying out a range of activities. Viet Nam's agricultural industry has been transforming towards green agriculture.

Viet Nam has contributed to many initiatives with the United States, other countries, and international organizations, such as the Initiative "Agricultural Innovation Mission for Climate" (AIM4C); Action Alliance "Promoting sustainable productivity growth for food security and resource conservation" (SPG); "Center for Innovation in Food Technology"; and the Initiative "100 million farmers: transition to net-zero, nature-positive food systems."

The minister suggested the U.S. continue to support Viet Nam in financial and technical resources through specific actions so that Viet Nam can enhance its capacity and successfully implement global initiatives, transformation to green, environmentally friendly, and low emission agriculture.

Moreover, the minister suggested the U.S. keep on paying attention and offer specific technical support packages for Viet Nam to more efficiently carry out the commitments in the Agreement between the two parties, such as (i) Strengthening the capacity of law enforcement in timber and timber products trade, forest resource survey for Vietnamese agencies; (ii) Developing the capacity on the management of Payment for Forest Environmental Services (PFES) to fulfill the commitments on sustainable forest development better, creating livelihoods for people.

On behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Deputy Minister Jason Hafemeiser thanked the Minister Le Minh Hoan for providing an overview of the cooperation relationship between Viet Nam and the U.S. in agriculture and affirmed that the U.S. considers Viet Nam as one of its leading agricultural partners and that the agriculture of both countries is complementary to each other for mutual development.

Deputy Minister Jason Hafemeiser announced that the opening of Viet Nam's pomelos is being actively promoted. Besides, he emphasized that cooperation to strengthen the capacity of sustainable development and climate change is the top priority of the U.S. Government today. Furthermore, the U.S. has been making a plan for COP27 to continue promoting the initiatives which have already been underway.

To realize the cooperation above opportunities, both parties agreed to direct the specialized agencies of both ministries to cooperate actively and more deeply discuss to reach the best solutions in promoting the opening of the markets, scientific and technological cooperation, boosting sustainable development, responding to climate change.

Seminar to connect Viet Nam – U.S. agricultural enterprises
On May 13, 2022, in Washington D.C., the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan and the Senior Vice President for Policy at the US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC), Marc Mealy, co-hosted a seminar to connect Viet Nam - U.S. agricultural enterprises.

The seminar featured representatives of agencies, enterprises, and associations in the agriculture sector and banks and investment funds of the two countries. The U.S.'s significant commodity associations, such as the U.S. Soybean Export Council, the U.S. Grains Council, the National Pork Producers Council, and some multi-national agricultural corporations, also participated in the seminar.

At the seminar, the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development representative informed us about the priority orientation of the Strategy for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development to 2030 and a vision for 2050, which the Prime Minister approved on January 28, 2022.

"Eco-agriculture - Modern countryside - Innovative farmers" are the three pillars of this strategy. To achieve this, Viet Nam's agriculture must transition from output-driven to economic thinking, build multi-integrated values ​​of agro-forestry-fishery products, link value chains of farming households with local enterprises and global corporations, create industry clusters, develop the systems of storage, preservation, processing, logistics, and distribution, enhance innovation, digitalization, green transformation in agriculture.

To implement this strategy, it is crucial to building a reliable partnership between the agribusinesses of the two countries. Vietnam and the U.S. are two countries with strengths in agriculture. However, the agro-forestry-fishery products of the two countries are complementary, not competitive, or substitute for each other.

Moreover, with the accompaniment of the two countries' governments to facilitate market opening, the import and export turnover of Viet Nam - U.S. agro-forestry-fishery products has more than doubled from 7.4 billion USD in 2015 to 17 billion USD in 2021.

Viet Nam has strengths in tropical industrial crops, tropical vegetables, aquaculture, timber, and wooden products. Meanwhile, the U.S. is a strong country regarding animal feed, meat and fishery products, and biotechnology.

The two countries' businesses discussed their strengths and needs for commercial cooperation and agricultural investment between Viet Nam and the U.S. at the seminar. The U.S. enterprises are especially interested in exporting and investing in next-generation inputs for agricultural production, sustainable, circular, low-emission farming models, taking advantage of opportunities of farm markets in not only Viet Nam but also ASEAN with 650 million people, of which Viet Nam is the central gateway to access the need of this bloc.

At the seminar, Minister Le Minh Hoan said that the US had become the leading import partner of Viet Nam's agro-forestry-fishery products. The minister oriented the two countries' businesses to build a reliable, stable, and long-term partnership in the context of world fluctuations.

It is the basis for making the best use of the new opportunities created by global events. The Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is willing to listen to and accompany the two countries' businesses to solve difficulties and obstacles and create a favorable production, business, and investment environment for the international business community.

Also, the ministry is ready to prepare the forums for businesses and localities to exchange and make the best use of new opportunities in technology and markets. The minister appealed to the significant commodity associations and large corporations of the U.S. to coordinate with the ministry to provide information and guidance to Vietnamese localities and enterprises on the requirements and standards of the U.S. agricultural, agro-forestry-fishery market.

In the seminar, four cooperation agreements were signed between the parties, including: (1) Cooperation Agreement (MOU) between Sustainable Agriculture Development Partnership with Pepsico and Care International on strengthening cooperation in inclusive and sustainable food production in Viet Nam; (2) an MOU between Bac Giang province and ERG group on promoting the trading of local agricultural products; (3) an MOU between Moc Thinh Phat Furniture Production Joint Stock Company and Grasslands Farms company on promoting trade in agricultural products; and (4) an MOU between Nevist Vietnam International Import-Export Company and AGP on trade and investment promotion in the agricultural sector.

Nguyen Do Anh Tuan, Director of the Department of International Cooperation (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development), said: "Since 2020, the United States has become the largest partner in agro-forestry-fishery (AFF) trade with Viet Nam. The good news is that despite the COVID pandemic, economic recession, and supply chain disruptions, both AFF exports and imports have increased at double-digit rates recently.

"This proves the complementarity of each other rather than the direct competition of the AFF products between Viet Nam and the U.S. Our common policy is to develop a reliable partnership and ensure mutual benefits in agricultural cooperation with the United States."


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