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On April 16, in Hanoi, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Nguyen Xuan Cuong had a meeting with Mr.Hung Ba, Chinese Ambassador to Vietnam, to promote cooperation in agricultural trade development between the two countries.

According to Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, agro-forestry and fishery trade between Vietnam and China in the first months of this year decreased by about 7% compared to the same period last year.

In response to the disease, the two sides have strengthened controls of the customs procedures, thus leading to slowed down clearance. In addition, working trips by high-level working delegations between the two ministries and some agro-forestry and fishery fairs in China have suspended.

China has granted export licenses for 9 Vietnamese fruits and vegetables. The two sides are completing the procedure for licenses for 8 more agricultural products.

Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong hoped that more Vietnamese agricultural products could be shipped officially to the Chinese market with quick administrative procedures, thus contributing to promoting two-way trade as well as promoting agriculture of the two sides.

Chinese Ambassador to Vietnam Hung Ba said that Vietnam is the China's biggest trading partner in the ASEAN region, accounting for 25% of China's trade with ASEAN.

The two sides need to strengthen cooperation in developing high-tech agriculture, deep processing and e-commerce to increase revenue for farmers. Therefore, China wishes to enhance agricultural trade between the two countries by industries.

With difficulties in customs clearance in recent days, the Ambassador said that the Chinese government has attached great importance to this issue and it is believed to be temporary. The two sides will work hard to overcome this difficult time. Ambassador Hung Ba agreed that, besides strict controls on the pandemic, the two countries should still promote trade and economic development.

To improve the efficiency of customs clearance, the Ambassador suggested that Vietnam side should implement controls by applying electronic chips to the delivery trucks. Vietnamese drivers can make health declaration on line. Drivers can make advance announcements for greater efficiency, avoiding long queues due to paper declarations. The Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong proposed the Chinese side to extend the customs clearance time for some border gates.

The two sides assessed that once the pandemic was under control, the two countries would focus on speeding up the bilateral trade so that the export and import turnover of both sides could be higher than 2019.