Hanoi (VNA) – Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong held a working session with Chinese Ambassador to Vietnam Xiong Bo in Hanoi on April 16 to discuss ways to facilitate the exchange of agricultural products between the two countries amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Agro-forestry-fishery trade between Vietnam and China fell about 7 percent year-on-year in the first months of the year.
The tightened control by the neighbouring countries in response to the epidemic slowed down customs procedures, he said, while working trips by delegations from the two agriculture ministries and major trade fairs have both been suspended.
China has allowed nine types of Vietnamese fruit and vegetables to be imported. The two sides are completing the necessary procedures for eight more Vietnam ese agricultural products to do likewise.
Cuong used the occasion to call on the Ambassador to help facilitate online procedures so that technical issues are addressed.
He expressed a hope that administrative procedures would be completed as soon as possible so that more Vietnamese agricultural products can be exported to China, thus contributing to enhancing bilateral trade and spurring agricultural development in both countries.
He also proposed the Chinese side extend the opening of its customs offices, which are only five or six hours at certain border gates, and that the two sides invest more human resources in this regard.
Echoing Cuong's views, the Ambassador stressed the need to strictly control the epidemic and at the same time promote trade and economic cooperation.
He said China must still conduct thorough inspections at border gates due to the distinct possibility of the disease spreading.
China's customs sector has adopted many measures to shorten the time needed to complete customs clearance, he explained, suggesting that Vietnam expand cargo parking areas to ease congestion at border gates such as Tan Thanh and Huu Nghi, optimise railway links in this regard, and launch online medical declaration services for drivers.
He also recommended Vietnam and China develop a disease prevention mechanism at the Government level, with the participation of forces from central to grassroots levels.
The two sides also agreed to focus on customs measures to quickly distribute farm produce stuck at border gates./.
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