Qatar Airways to double cargo flights to this destination
Qatar’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) to operate additional 14 cargo flights, which would boost the bilateral trade between the two countries.
The MoU will allow Qatar Airways to operate a total of 28 cargo flights between Doha and different regions in Vietnam, a statement by the CAA said on Tuesday.
The statement said passenger transport rights are open between the two countries and are not restricted by any number of flights. The deal to increase cargo flights will give a boost to the $1 billion bilateral trade that Vietnam is eyeing with Qatar.
Recently, Vietnam’s Ambassador to Qatar, HE Nguyen Dinh Thao had said that his country is ready to cooperate with Qatar especially in the field of food security.
“High-tech agriculture is also a development focus for Vietnam in maintaining food security in the future and it is an area which Qatar and Vietnam can work together,” Nguyen said.
Vietnam is a net exporter of agri-food, seafood, rice and many other agricultural products. In 2016, exports of agriculture and forestry products reached $18.1 billion, an increase of 6.5 percent year-on-year and accounting for 10.3 percent of the country’s total exports.
Seafood exports were valued at $7 billion, an increase of 6.8 percent as compared to the previous year and accounting for four percent of total export value.
Vietnam is also planning to increase exports of tropical fruits including bananas, grapefruit, dragon fruit, mango, coconut and durian to the Middle East, starting with Qatar.
Vietnam could fully meet Qatar’s demand for tropical fruits, the country’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nguyen Xuan Cuong had recently said. According to him, Vietnam has 1.8 million hectares of cultivation area for fruits and vegetables with an annual output of 20 million tonnes, and this would double in the future if the demand rises.
Besides seafood, other food exports to Qatar include Vietnam’s top agriculture products like vegetables, coffee, cashew nuts and pepper.
Vietnam and Qatar have many years of close relations and business ties. In 2008, Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) set up a $1 billion fund to invest in agricultural, cattle and lamb farming in Vietnam.
Qatar is also investing in Vietnam’s real estate, tourism, banking and petroleum sector, while Qatar Airways operates direct flights from Doha to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Currently, there are around 1,400 Vietnamese citizens residing in Qatar, including researchers, students, engineers and workers in the construction and service industry.