Dutch Ministers and Companies on a Trade Mission to Vietnam

A delegation of Dutch entrepreneurs and politicians is on an economic mission in Vietnam this week. IDH plays a crucial role in making supply chains sustainable and the team in Vietnam will be part of the mission by, among other things, presenting the aquaculture environmental work.

Christianne van der Wal (Dutch Minister for Nature and Nitrogen Policy), Mark Harbers (Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management), and Ingrid Thijssen (General Secretary of the Dutch employers’ association VNO-NCW) are among the delegation members, with agrofood, water, horticulture and logistics as the main theme of the mission.

Vietnam is one of the fastest growing markets in Asia and is already on the radar of many Dutch entrepreneurs. Vietnam and the Netherlands are important partners when it comes to trade and investment. Last year, the two countries celebrated fifty years of diplomatic relations. Just like the Netherlands, Vietnam is a delta of rivers and, in various respects, struggles with the same challenges.

Vietnamese coffee

The Netherlands is the largest European investor in Vietnam and, conversely, the Netherlands is Vietnam’s largest European export destination. At present, around 125 Dutch companies are active in Vietnam, which is an attractive market given the country’s rapid economic growth. An important factor in Dutch-Vietnamese relations is the trade in coffee and spices. In 2023, for example, the Netherlands imported almost 8,000 tonnes of pepper, 1,200 tonnes of cinnamon and 295 tonnes of star anise from Vietnam. The Netherlands also imported over 45,000 tonnes of Vietnamese coffee, nearly four times as much as in the period 2017-2022. To put this into perspective, there is Vietnamese coffee in almost every cup of coffee consumed in the Netherlands.

Sustainable food systems

This week, the Dutch delegation will be descending on Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, among other places. One of the items on the agenda is a gathering to mark 10 years of the Strategic Partnership Arrangement on sustainable agriculture and food security between Vietnam and the Netherlands. Government officials and companies from the two countries give insights of how the Netherlands and Vietnam have been working together in the last decade on sustainable food systems. Enhancing the sustainability of the supply chain is a key subject of discussion for the mission.

Coffee, spices and aquaculture

Vietnam is one of the largest producers of coffee and aquaculture products, and often one of the largest producers of tea and pepper in the world, creating work for hundreds of thousands of smallholder farmers. IDH aims to transform markets worldwide, enabling companies to create value for people and planet. IDH brings together interested parties from value chains across the globe and thus facilitates innovation and investment in solutions for sustainable and inclusive international trade.

In Vietnam, IDH has initiated change by building strong partnerships with the Vietnamese government, the private sector and civil society organisations. IDH Vietnam is active in coffee, spices (pepper and cinnamon), aquaculture (shrimp and pangasius) and textile production.

For example, IDH Vietnam supports the coffee sector efforts to adapt to the European Union Deforestation-Free Products Regulation (EUDR). In 2023, the by-IDH-facilitated public-private partnership developed the first national action plan in the world on deforestation and degradation-free sourcing areas and supply chains in compliance with the EUDR, which promotes reforestation and minimises negative impacts on vulnerable farming communities.

Reducing the environmental footprint of the Mekong Delta seafood sector

During the economic mission, IDH will present its work in the aquaculture industry. Together with partners, we aim for a reduction of the carbon footprint of the Mekong Delta shrimp and pangasius value chains.

Supply chain cooperation is a key element to bring interventions to value chain actors to change their business practices. IDH works with its partners on developing a roadmap and Life Cycle Assessment tool to measure the environmental footprint of aquaculture products from cradle to retail. Based on that, the supply chain can identify key hotspots of environmental footprint for viable interventions and partnerships.

At the Mekong Delta Business Forum, IDH will present to the delegation about the work that has a beneficial impact on the environment and for farmers, and about the opportunities for further cooperation.

Read more about IDH in Vietnam