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Vietnam may invite Egypt to Vietnam to “go fishing”   2009-04-01 - VietNamNet

Minister of Industry and Trade (MOIT) Vu Huy Hoang on March 31 proposed to the prime minister that Egyptian delegations come to Vietnam to clarify information about tra and basa exported to the country.


Embassy shows goodwill towards tackling basa row with Egypt


Prior to that, the Egyptian Embassy in Vietnam announced it had halted certifying documents and vouchers related to seafood exported to Egypt. The move was made after several big Egyptian newspapers reported in mid March 2009 that Vietnam’s tra and basa fish contained substances dangerous to human health because Vietnam’s basa catfish lives in the contaminated water of the Mekong River.


Vietnam’s fish has been thought of living in contaminated water

Right after the announcement, the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam gathered a meeting with relevant ministries to discuss solutions to the problem. In the immediate time, the ministry has suggested that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs send a diplomatic note to the Egyptian Embassy in Vietnam, asking it to continue granting certificates.


Minister of MOIT Vu Huy Hoang on March 31 proposed that the Prime Minister invite Egyptian officials to Vietnam to work with Vietnamese ministries. The officials could make tours of aquaculture establishments in order to get true information and learn more about Vietnamese seafood.


If the Egyptian side asks Vietnam to send delegations to Egypt, MOIT said that it would be best to set up a delegation of representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), MOIT, and the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) to meet Egyptian ministries, scientists and press agencies.


On March 30, MARD released a document affirming that the water which is used for aquaculture in the Mekong Delta in no way affects the quality of seafood.


As a result of the order on halting certifying Vietnamese consignments of tra and basa fish exported to Egypt, a lot of ships carrying tra and basa fish are getting stuck at ports in countries in the Middle East, while a lot of export contracts have been cancelled.


MOIT has asked the commercial affairs section at the Vietnamese Embassy in Egypt and VASEP to keep close watch over the consignments of fish which cannot get customs clearance in Egypt and those which cannot get certifications from the Egyptian Embassy in Hanoi in order to find suitable solutions.


Vietnamese agencies are making a series of efforts to prove the safety of its fish products. Vietnam’s tra and basa products have been available in Egypt for four years. Vietnam’s tra and basa export turnover to Egypt in 2008 reached $63mil. In the first two months of 2009 alone, fish export turnover reached $5.1mil.


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