Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong speaks at the trade counsellors' meeting on February 8th (Photo: VNA)

The agricultural sector targets a growth rate of about 3 percent and export revenue of USD40 billion in 2018.

Tran Van Cong, Deputy Director of the MARD’s Agro Processing and Market Development Authority, said agricultural trade promotion is facing numerous difficulties as many countries like the US, China, Japan and the EU have increased protecting domestic agriculture. Their quality and food safety standards have become stricter.

As a result, it takes more time, five to seven years in average, for Vietnam to negotiate with other countries to open markets for its farm produce.

He said in 2018, the agricultural sector will work to enhance the market analysis and forecast capacity, ensure smooth consumption of farm produce, and increase marketing key Vietnamese products in big and potential markets. It will also tighten links with domestic and foreign agricultural businesses, remove technical barriers, and solve payment difficulties in export to Africa and the Middle East.

MARD Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong emphasised that as Vietnam’s agricultural production has surpassed demand, an important task is maximising global markets and producing farm produce with the best quality.

Trade Counsellor in Japan Ta Duc Minh said Japan highly values many agricultural products of Vietnam, particularly mangoes and bananas. The shipment of the first chicken meat batches to Japan also proved that the country’s agricultural products have satisfied this demanding market.

However, he noted, export prices are still high, especially fruit since they are rotten easily and shipment cost is not low. He asked for solutions to reduce shipment cost in order to boost Vietnamese products’ competitiveness.

Meanwhile, Trade Counsellor in Australia Nguyen Thi Hoang Thuy said the opening of the Australian market is long and full of difficulties. For example, it takes up to 12 years for lychees to enter this market. Therefore, it is necessary to shorten negotiation duration.

She stressed the need for better coordination between the MARD and the trade office to promote negotiations.

At the meeting, Minister Cuong also asked trade counsellors to not only promote trade but also provide more information on technology, culture and market trends which are crucial for the agricultural sector to expand markets./.