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Việt Nam, Italy aim to leverage strengths in agriculture

VIETNAM, March 1 - HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính hosted a reception in Hà Nội on March 1 for Italian Minister of Agriculture, Food Sovereignty and Forestry Francesco Lollobrigida, calling for a further strengthening of bilateral ties, particularly in the agricultural sector.

PM Chính reaffirmed Việt Nam's commitment to deepening its strategic partnership with Italy, believing that Lollobrigida's visit would solidify bilateral political, economic and trade relations, especially in agriculture.

Welcoming the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation between the the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food Sovereignty and Forestry, he urged them to concretise and effectively realise the MoU to achieve new milestones in agricultural cooperation, overcome challenges, and strive for a more balanced and mutually beneficial trade relationship.

The PM emphasised the importance of collaboration in deep processing of agricultural products, technology transfer, innovation, digital transformation, green economy and circular economy in agriculture, and fostering connections between businesses to develop agricultural economy.

Việt Nam is ready to welcome a greater presence of Italian farm produce to serve local consumers, he said.

Noting that Việt Nam is the first country to carry out the 1-million-ha low-emission, high-quality rice programme in the Mekong Delta, contributing to the global climate change adaptation, he suggested exploring regional agricultural cooperation between the two countries.

He also urged Italy to accelerate the European Union's removal of the yellow card warning on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Việt Nam and hasten the approval of the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA).

On the global and regional issues, Chính proposed continued cooperation to address global challenges like climate change, food security and water security. He also called for the effective implementation of cooperation activities within the framework of the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) Declaration between Việt Nam and G7 countries.

Việt Nam is ready to serve as a bridge to foster the development partnership between Italy and ASEAN - the current growth centre, as well as promote relations between Italy and African countries and other nations through the tripartite cooperation model in ensuring food security, he said.

Minister Lollobrigida, for his part, lauded Việt Nam's significant potential and strengths in agriculture.

He expressed Italy's readiness to share experience, technology and machinery, crop varieties and livestock achievements with Việt Nam to develop sustainable agriculture with lower emissions and more added values targeting premium markets. Italian universities are also prepared to train Vietnamese students in the field, he added.

The minister said Italy hopes to become Việt Nam's leading agricultural partner in the EU, believing that more Italian agricultural products would be present in Việt Nam and the Asia-Pacific. Italy will actively urge relevant EU agencies to remove the yellow card warning on Vietnamese seafood at the earliest, he added.

Italy is now the third largest trade partner of Việt Nam in the EU, behind Germany and the Netherlands. Meanwhile, Việt Nam is Italy's biggest trade partner in ASEAN, with two-way trade surpassing 6 billion USD in 2023. In 2023, the two countries celebrated the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic relations and the 10th anniversary of bilateral strategic partnership. — VNS

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