Viet Nam, China discuss ways to boost agriculture trade

Friday, Apr 17, 2020 08:50

Viet Nam’s farming, forestry and fishery export trade with China fell about 7 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of this year to US$2.2 billion. — Photo

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong had a working session with Chinese Ambassador to Viet Nam Xiong Bo in Ha Noi on Thursday to discuss facilitating the exchange of agricultural products between the two countries amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Viet Nam’s farming, forestry and fishery trade with China fell about 7 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of this year to US$2.2 billion due to the virus.

Tightened controls by the neighbouring country in response to the pandemic slowed customs procedures, Cuong said, adding that the opening of the Chinese market for Vietnamese farm produce, working trips by delegations from the two agriculture ministries and major trade fairs have been suspended due to the pandemic.

Cuong called on the ambassador to help facilitate online procedures so that technical issues are addressed.

He expressed a hope that administrative procedures would be completed as soon as possible so that more Vietnamese agricultural products can be exported to China, contributing to enhancing bilateral trade and spurring agricultural development in both countries.

He also proposed the Chinese side extend the opening of its customs offices, which are only five or six hours at certain border gates, and that the two sides invest more human resources in this regard.

Ambassador Xiong Bo stressed the need to strictly control the pandemic and promote trade and economic co-operation.

He said China must still conduct thorough inspections at border gates due to the possibility of the disease spreading.

China’s customs sector has adopted many measures to shorten the time needed to complete customs clearance, he explained, suggesting that Viet Nam expand cargo parking areas to ease congestion at border gates such as Tan Thanh and Huu Nghi.

Exported goods to China should not be concentrated at land border gates, he said, the goods could be transported by the Dong Dang-Bang Tuong railway to China. The railway has many advantages, including large cargo capacity and low cost.

Besides, Viet Nam should launch online medical declaration services for drivers to save time spent on the customs clearance process.

He said he believed the existing difficulties are temporary and the two countries should work hard to solve them.

He also recommended Viet Nam and China develop a disease prevention mechanism at the Government level, with the participation of forces from central to grassroots levels.

The two sides also agreed to focus on customs measures to quickly distribute farm produce stuck at border gates.

The ambassador said Viet Nam is China's largest and most important trading partner in ASEAN, accounting for 25 per cent of China's trade with this region.

The two sides need to strengthen co-operation in developing high-tech agriculture and e-commerce to increase revenue for farmers. — VNS

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