“Norway - Vietnam: Cooperation opportunities in aquaculture and seafood” (21-03-2023)

This seminar was co-organized by the Norwegian Embassy in Hanoi and the Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) on February 28, 2023 in Hanoi on the occasion of the official visit to Vietnam by the State Secretary of Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, H.E., Mr. Erling Rimestad.
“Norway - Vietnam: Cooperation opportunities in aquaculture and seafood”

Strengthen the bilateral cooperation

The seminar was aimed at strengthening the bilateral cooperation between Norway and Vietnam in the fisheries sector. It was also expected that this is a forum where authorities, companies and stakeholders of both countries can meet and explore practical solutions and opportunities to intensify collaboration, particularly in the context of the global trend towards greener and more sustainable development where technologies and science-based solutions play key roles. At the seminar, the Norwegian Seafood Council (“NSC”) also announced a new plan for introducing more Norwegian seafood products to the Vietnamese market and its consumers.

The event spotlighted the presence of the State Secretary of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr. Erling Rimestad, and other distinguished guests, including MARD Deputy Minister, H.E. Mr. Phung Duc Tien; Ambassador of Norway to Vietnam, H.E. Ms. Hilde Solbakken; Director of Innovation Norway, Commercial Counselor of the Norwegian Embassy in Hanoi, Mr. Arne-Kjetil Lian; SEA Director of NSC, Mr. Asbjørn Warvik Rørtveit; Director General of the Fisheries Department, MARD, Mr. Tran Dinh Luan; and representatives from the Vietnam Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), and stakeholders. Additionally, a number of Norwegian companies and Vietnamese importers were present at the event to share their aquaculture experiences and expertise, as well as to discuss the potential for business-to-business cooperation in aquaculture, processing, and import-export of seafood products.

In her introductory remarks, Ambassador of Norway to Vietnam, Hilde Solbakken indicated “Norway takes pride in the cooperation with Vietnam in the fisheries, aquaculture, and marine sectors, and sees this a central part of the more than 50 years of friendship and cooperation since we established diplomatic relations in 1971”.

Visiting Vietnam for the first time, State Secretary of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Erling Rimestad spoke highly of the Norway-Vietnam bilateral ties particularly the productive cooperation between the two countries in the fisheries sector.

“We find ourselves at the top of the list of seafood exporters - Norway as the second biggest in the world, and Vietnam as the third biggest. We are in the fortunate position that this does not make us competitors - in fact we complement each other as seafood nations. Norway exports species such as salmon, cod, king crab and shrimps from the sea. Vietnam is a big supplier of farmed pangasius and shrimp. The processing of Norwegian mackerel in Vietnam, also shows how we can both benefit in the seafood value chain”, emphasized by the State Secretary in his opening remarks.

As a co-chair of the Seminar, Deputy Minister Phung Duc Tien, in his remarks, highly appreciated the support and assistance from Norway to MARD and the fisheries industry for more than 30 years, which covers different segments from development of a regulatory framework to technical assistance, capacity building and training. Deputy Minister Tien said, “this seminar is a great opportunity for the two countries to deepen our bilateral cooperation in marine aquaculture on an industrial scale, to promote bilateral trade in seafood products, and to realize the areas of cooperation as stated in the Letter of Intent signed between Norway and Vietnam in May 2021”.

Deputy Minister Tien also provided some updates on the situation of seafood production and export in Vietnam over the past years, as well as highlighted the policies, priorities and strategies of Vietnam for its fisheries sector towards effective and sustainable growth of the marine aquaculture in the coming decades.

Learn more from Norway’s experiences

 “I am deeply impressed with Norway's achievements and advanced technologies in developing the seafood sector. Norway is a country with a pioneering fishing and aquaculture sector in the world with the core values of sustainable development, environmental protection, while constantly improving the economic value and reputation of Norwegian seafood products globally”, emphasized by Deputy Minister Tien.

Sharing the results of Vietnam's seafood industry in 2022, Director General of the Fisheries Department, MARD Mr Tran Dinh Luan said, Vietnam's total seafood product production in 2022 reached 9.02 million tons, up 2.7% from 2021. The seafood sector in 2022 posted a record in export value of 11 billion USD, up 23.8 per cent year-on-year and 22 per cent higher than the year’s target of 9 billion USD. Of the amount, shrimp exports hit a record 4.3 billion USD, pangasius exports reached 2.4 billion USD, and tuna exports were 1 billion USD.

On the other hand, according to the Director General Luan, in 2022, Vietnam’s marine aquaculture area was  85,000 ha; the annual growth rate is 23.3% (excluding 202,000 ha of mixed- intercropping); with 8.9 million m3 cages. The marine aquaculture production in 2022 reached 750,000 tons; the annual growth rate is 16%.

Director General Luan affirmed, Vietnam has many potentials and advantages to develop marine aquaculture, but it also faces many difficulties and challenges in planning, farming infrastructure, science and technology, and human resources... Therefore, Director General Luan also expresses hopes that Norway would support Vietnam to develop policies, planning and environmental protection in marine aquaculture on an industrial scale; develop standards/regulations, economic and technical norms for industrial marine aquaculture suitable to Vietnam’s conditions; share with Vietnam its experience in building a salmon brand so that Vietnam can apply…

Together for sustainable development

On this occasion, NSC also announced an official plan to be more active in Vietnam. “In 2023, NSC will strengthen promotional activities in Vietnam so that many consumers know about the presence of Norwegian seafood, as well as build programs to meet, connect and promote trade between import and export enterprises of the two countries.”

According to Mr. Nguyen Hoai Nam, Deputy General Secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), Vietnam seafood exported to Norway in 2022 only reach 9.3 million USD. In opposite, Vietnam seafood imported from Norway in this time reach nearly 260 million USD. Vietnam imports seafood from 100 countries. Norway accounts for 10 - 12%, ranking 2nd - 3rd among seafood suppliers to Vietnam. Majority of seafood imported from Norway to Vietnam for processing and re-export. 

Therefore, Deputy General Secretary Mr. Nguyen Hoai Nam also expressed his hope that Norway would further promote seafood trade with Vietnam, taking advantage of the processing technology and processing capacity of factories in Vietnam…

With similarly long coastlines, both Norway and Vietnam are top seafood exporters in the world: Norway is the second and Vietnam is the third. Norway is a country with the leading fishing and aquaculture industry in the world, with the core values of sustainable development and environmental protection in parallel with continuously improving the economic value and reputation of its national seafood globally. Vietnam is a country with great potential to develop aquaculture with sustainable and responsible management. By working together, we can develop greener and more sustainable practices for Vietnam's fisheries industry, which can further inspire innovation, and we can both be successful and responsible seafood nations.

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