Vietnam is implementing drastically the EU’s recommendations on anti-IUU fishing
Cuong expressed hope of improved cooperation between Vietnam and the European Union in fighting IUU fishing and carrying out the Voluntary Partnership Agreement in line with the European Union’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade as well as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
During the visit, also aimed to promote agricultural cooperation with the European Union and Belgium, the minister also had a working session with Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, during which he stressed the European Union’s significant role in Vietnam’s farming sector in terms of partnership, investment and knowledge-technical transfer.
Highlighting the importance of the European Union- Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), Cuong suggested both sides to soon ratify the pact to boost trade, particularly of agro-fishery-forestry products.
He asked the European Union to consider practical conditions for developing countries such as Vietnam during its assessment and inspection of the seafood safety control system.
Regarding measures to implement the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) agreement, both the host and guest agreed to hold more dialogues to discuss the document content and implementation of SPS regulations in EVFTA.
Both the commissioners acknowledged and lauded Vietnam’s drastic efforts in increasing laws and policies to counter IUU fishing and monitor food safety. They said the efforts would help stimulate the growth of comprehensive bilateral partnership and facilitate EVFTA’s signing and ratification.
The European Union announced it would send a technical team to Vietnam in May to access the country’s actions against IUU fishing.
In another meeting with Alain Cadec, Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries, Cuong talked about the measures employed by Vietnam to deter IUU fishing and asked for Cadec’s support, in addition to the support of the European Union, to make the process more effective.
While in Brussels, the minister met Belgium’s Federal Minister for Agriculture Denis Ducarme to beef up farming cooperation with the European country.
Both ministers agreed to promote investment collaboration in agriculture, with Cuong suggesting the Belgian side to assist Vietnam in meeting standards and regulations of the country as well as the European Union.
Ducarme said Belgium prioritised collaboration with Vietnam and expressed belief that bilateral farming engagements would expand in future.
According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), seafood enterprises in VASEP’s Commitment Against IUU Fishing Program have simultaneously hung the commitment to combat IUU fishing (at the gate of the plant), saying they will not purchase, process or export with raw materials originating from IUU fishing.
To follow up on this effect, VASEP has proposed that Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development issue a written directive to the provinces, cities and the Vietnam Directorate of Fisheries for propaganda and communication against IUU exploitation.