Australian Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud (left)
 enjoys Vietnamese beer in Ho Chi Minh City on April 13
th, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre

As part of his busy schedule, the visiting minister stopped by a butcher shop in District 2 for lunch, where he grilled the meat by himself and had it with chilled Vietnamese-made beer.

The shop, run by a Vietnamese Australian businessman, imports more than 60 percent of its supply, mainly lamb and beef from Australia.

As he toured the store, Littleproud raised questions about the consumption and eating habits of Vietnamese people on meat products, especially western ones such as sausages and lamb.

He was surprised to know that 70% of the store’s customers are foreigners, meaning local customers are not really familiar with western meat.

However, the minister was told that the number of Vietnamese buyers has also increased significantly in recent times, so has their spending on imported meat.

The Australian beef and lamb currently fetch average prices from VND500,000 (USD22) to more than VND1 million per kg, according to the store owner, Thanh Charles.

While Australian beef enjoys a zero percent import duty to Vietnam, imported lamb is subject to a three percent tariff. These tax rates are already low, Charles said, adding that it would be difficult to expect the price of Australian beef to go any lower.

“In return, Vietnamese incomes are increasing rapidly and they are spending more and more,” he said.

Minister Littleproud then changed his formal shirt into chef uniform and started grilling the meat himself and enjoying Vietnamese beer for lunch with members of the delegation.

Littleproud told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the trade relations between Vietnam and Australia remain strong, particularly in the agricultural sector.

The Australian Minister learns about the taste of Vietnamese consumers
 in Ho Chi Minh City on April 13
th, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Prior to his Ho Chi Minh City stop, Littleproud and his delegation visited Hanoi.

During a meeting with Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in the capital, the two sides discussed bilateral trade in agricultural products, including exports of Vietnamese live shrimp to Australia.

The Australian guests also attended the launching ceremony of a project on slaughterhouse management training and skills exchange - domestic training component on April 13th.