Vietnam, US look towards broader agricultural cooperation
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the US Grains Council (USGC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on technical cooperation in the agricultural field.
Le Quoc Doanh, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and Ryan LeGrand, President and CEO for the US Grains Council (USGC) witnessed the signing of the MoU on September 22 at USGC's headquarters based in Washington.
Under the MoU, the MARD and USGC will move to establish a technical co-operative relationship in the field of agriculture and animal feed, production, and use of biofuels in the nation, as well as increase mutual understanding of relevant policies and regulations in accordance with Vietnamese development goals.
Upon addressing the signing ceremony, Deputy Minister Doanh stated that the signing of the MoU between the two sides continues to affirm the strong partnership that brings about a range of practical benefits to businesses and consumers, as well as outlining orientation for co-operation activities moving forward, especially in the field of animal feed and biofuel production.
According to the Deputy Minister, the country is one of the fastest growing animal feed markets globally and a major importer of corn and grain. In less than a decade, the nation has grown from 16th place in the world to third in terms of global corn imports.
The country is also viewed as a potential customer of ethanol fuel, which is expected to implement the widely used E5 gasoline blending ratio nationwide before switching to E10 in the near future, he said.
According to Nguyen Do Anh Tuan, head of the MARD's International Cooperation Department, both sides boast great potential for co-operation, as well as ample room for trade promotion, especially in agricultural products which are viewed as complementary to each other, not competitive and interchangeable.
The US is also able to provide the nation with raw materials for animal feed, such as corn, soybeans, and wheat, whereas the country has products such as timber and seafood.
The two sides can improve co-operation in science and technology, along with the technology transfer between research institutions, businesses, and associations, or alternatively co-operate in responding to climate change, towards a green, sustainable, and low-emission agricultural sector, he said.
Under the direction of the Vietnamese Government towards a harmonious trade balance between both countries, the MARD has recently carried out a series of tasks under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreements (TIFAs), such as opening the market for US oranges, apples, pears, and grapefruit. This is in addition to working with the US on biological products, as well as discussing the possibility of import tax exemption and reduction for US agricultural products.
The nation has also sent business delegations to the US in order to connect with partners to purchase American agricultural products, especially animal feed.
In response, LeGrand said that the two sides have developed a plan towards achieving a harmonious and sustainable trade balance with many specific solutions within the agricultural sector.
The product that will help to balance the trade between the two countries is ethanol fuel as the Vietnamese market represents a potential consumer, LeGrand said, adding that President Nguyen Xuan Phuc told him during a meeting in New York that the Vietnamese Government would consider reducing taxes on some products from the US such as corn, wheat, and pork.
The USCG will therefore help improve the capacity of Vietnamese managers, importers, and feed processing businesses working in this field, thereby enabling them to gain access to new technology, new trade, and new skills in order organise production management. It will also support medical equipment such as COVID-19 test kits and COVID-19 treatment drugs for Vietnamese livestock enterprises.
Currently, the Council has 28 branches around the world, with its Southeast Asia branch being located in Vietnam. This indicates that the USCG places the Vietnamese grain market at centre stage of its Southeast Asian market development strategy.