Vietnam - New Zealand Elevating Strategic Partnership in Agriculture

9:55:42 AM | 11/30/2022

Vietnam and New Zealand are important partners in agriculture. With a shared commitment to free and open trade that benefits everyone and boosts production and export, both countries are food suppliers for the whole world.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the launch of Vietnam lime and pomelo trade to New Zealand

Vietnam and New Zealand established diplomatic ties on June 19, 1975. Their strategic partnership, established in July 2020, created a new impetus for in-depth and substantive cooperation. The bilateral trade value reached US$1.3 billion in 2021, representing an annual growth of 26.7%, and US$1.1 billion in the first nine months of 2022, up 13.6% year on year.

Speaking at the Vietnam-New Zealand Agricultural Connection Conference and Exhibition (AgriConnectioNZ) themed "Strategic Partnership in Agriculture", held within the framework of her official visit to Vietnam, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern emphasized that agriculture is not only an important economic sector but also part of the cultural identity of the two countries. Highlighting that Vietnam and New Zealand both possess efficient food production systems, she added that this will continue to be a key trade cooperation area of the two countries. A notable example is New Zealand's support for commercialization of new fruit varieties, including the Dragon Fruit Seedling Development Project.

Mr. Damien O'Connor, Minister of Agriculture cum Minister for Trade and Export Growth of New Zealand, affirmed that New Zealand and Vietnam are "godsend partners" in agriculture. Important bilateral agreements on food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary, electronic certification and agriculture have provided a solid foundation to promote agricultural trade cooperation that the two sides are interested in.

He said two-way trade has risen by 59% over the past five years to NZ$2.39 billion in 2022. This figure will continue to grow with electronic certification for traded agricultural products. This will free up supply chains and speed up customs clearance and will benefit businesses on both sides. New Zealand is ready to further provide technical support for Vietnam to set up and operate the electronic certification system

Emphasizing the focus of agricultural cooperation in the coming time, Minister Damien O'Connor said, reducing emissions in agriculture will be an increasingly important focus. Both Vietnam and New Zealand are actively supporting the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA) and the ASEAN Climate Smart Agriculture Initiative. As part of this effort, the livestock emissions measurement and reporting project in Vietnam was approved for implementation. New Zealand is proud to have played a part in developing the project.

Agreeing with this view, Vietnam's Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan said that agriculture is one of the important pillars in Vietnam-New Zealand cooperation. Vietnam highly appreciates New Zealand's interest in agriculture, with a focus on knowledge and technology transfer in the following areas: Market development for agricultural products, high quality crop varieties, animal quarantine, vegetation, dam safety and reservoir operation, food safety, and greenhouse gas emission reduction in livestock farming.

Agricultural trade brought in nearly US$550 million in 2021, accounting for 41% of total bilateral trade value. The two sides signed an agreement on the clearance facilitation of agricultural, forest and aquatic products with the use of electronic certificates in July 2020. Currently, working groups of the two countries are taking steps to test the electronic certification system and promote market opening procedures for agricultural products.

Over the past time, Vietnam's agriculture sector has received New Zealand's training support for improving the English and management skills of 80 officers at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and training human resources for the agricultural sector (through the Ministry of Education and Training) with 500 graduate scholarships, with priority given to agriculture, environment and climate change, natural risk management and food safety.

Minister Le Minh Hoan emphasized that Vietnam is carrying out the Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development Strategy, based on three pillars: Ecological agriculture - modern countryside - civilized farmers. This is an important requirement for Vietnam to actively contribute, in line with international trends, to creating a green, responsible and sustainable agriculture. He hoped that businesses of the two countries would cooperate in building and developing high-tech agricultural value chains, promoting connectivity between the two countries and with global markets.

Vietnam's agriculture will provide favorable conditions for New Zealand businesses to make successful, sustainable long-term investment and business," he affirmed.

The ceremony also witnessed the contract signing for export of Vietnamese green limes and pomelos to New Zealand. These are the fourth and fifth most exportable fruits from Vietnam to New Zealand after mango, dragon fruit and rambutan. Besides, the two sides signed memorandums of cooperation on strengthening horticulture cooperation between New Zealand and Vietnam. TH Truemilk of Vietnam and Waikato Milking Systems of New Zealand also inked a memorandum of understanding on prioritized cooperation.

In the New Zealand-Vietnam Strategic Partnership Action Plan, both countries agreed to encourage further growth of two-way trade, and the signing of Vietnam's Lime and Pomelo Export Plan is an important step forward.

“The agricultural connection event of the two countries marked a historic milestone in the fruitful and mutually beneficial relationship. It is time for the two countries to launch their agricultural partnership for the next century," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

Thu Ha (Vietnam Business Forum)