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Covid-19 could slow Vietnam’s fruit exports to US, Japan, Korea

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CAN THO – As the coronavirus pandemic ravages the United States and Europe, local fruit exporters have expressed great concern over the possible plunge in fruit exports to these markets in the near future.

Le Van Dong, deputy managing director of Le Fruit Company, said his firm’s fruit exports to high-demand markets, such as the U.S., Japan, and South Korea, have fallen some 50% compared to normal.

The firm has faced many obstacles in trading and shipping activities due to the impact of the fast-spreading disease. Further, falling market demand amid uncertainty caused by the pandemic has prompted scores of its business partners to hesitate importing fruits, Dong explained.

Similarly, Nguyen Dinh Tung, general director of Vina T&T Group, said the sharp decrease in consumer demand in high-demand markets has left a significant impact on the firm’s outbound sales of fruit.

When Covid-19 swept these markets last month, Vina T&T Group’s export volume of fruit plummeted a massive 70%.

However, Tung expected that the market could recover by 50% in the next two weeks, since food is an indispensable part of daily life, regardless of the spread of the disease, and people currently practicing social distancing will switch to shopping online for necessities, thereby resulting in a rise in consumer demand.

Earlier, during the first two months of the year, Vietnam’s fruit exports to the U.S., Australia, and the Netherlands continued to grow, as Covid-19 primarily raged in mainland China.

According to data from the General Department of Vietnam Customs, Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports to the U.S., valued at US$22.5 million in the January-February period, increased nearly 16% over the year-ago figure. Those to markets in South Korea, Japan, Australia also soared over 45%, 24%, and 42%, respectively.

Meanwhile, during the first two months, outbound sales of Vietnamese fruits to China dropped over 29% from 2019 figures, to reach some US$300 million.

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