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China halts dragon fruit imports from Vietnam over Covid concerns

By Chanh Trung

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CAN THO – China has decided to temporarily suspend dragon fruit imports from Vietnam saying that it found traces of the coronavirus on Vietnam’s packaging and cartons containing the dragon fruit.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, China’s Guangxi region said it stopped importing dragon fruit from Vietnam’s Quang Ninh Province for a week, from September 15 to 21. 

After 11 p.m. on September 21, China will resume dragon fruit imports from Vietnam. 

However, Guangxi officials said the region will extend the halt for another week if the coronavirus is detected on the Vietnamese dragon fruit again, using the polymerase chain reaction method.

In case the coronavirus is detected three times, China will suspend dragon fruit imports from Vietnam for four weeks. 

Dang Phuc Nguyen, general secretary of the Vietnam Vegetable and Fruit Association, said this is a rare incident because Vietnam’s fruit processing facilities have applied the stay-at-work mode and their workers are vaccinated against Covid-19 and take regular tests.

To avoid similar incidents in the future, the Ministry of Industry and Trade asked localities and fruit exporters to tighten control over the harvest, processing, packaging and transport of the fruit amid the spread of Covid-19.

Dragon fruit is one of the key export products of Vietnam, and the country exported dragon fruit worth over US$1 billion last year. 

China is Vietnam’s largest buyer of dragon fruit as it accounts for some 80% of the country’s total dragon fruit exports. 

Other important dragon fruit importers of Vietnam are the United States, the Netherlands, Thailand, India, Australia, Japan and Singapore.

China has been conducting tests to detect the coronavirus on imported food such as meat, seafood and fruits although the World Health Organization suggested there’s no evidence of people catching the virus from food and food packaging.

By Chanh Trung

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