CAN THO – The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has told local traders and exporters to suspend the transport of farm produce to the northern border gates for export to ease the pressure on the gates as hundreds of container trucks full of agricultural products are stuck there. China has further tightened control over import customs clearance processes to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien said in a notice sent to all the localities in the country on April 9 that the authorities of China’s Pingxiang announced on April 7 that the time for customs clearance at the Tan Thanh and Coc Nam border gates has been slashed to five hours per day.
Customs clearance for goods at the two gates will run from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from noon to 2 p.m. on weekdays.
China is closely monitoring vehicles and truck drivers entering its territory, noted Tien. Specifically, vehicles used for transporting goods through the border gates must be sterilized to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Cargo transport vehicles were not allowed to pass through the Tan Thanh border gate of Lang Son Province or the Pu Zhai gate of Pingxiang after 2 p.m. on April 8 and 9.
On April 3, the Chinese side released an announcement on the tightened control at border gates, land border crossings, railroad crossings and water border gates.
To avoid traffic jams at border gates and losses for firms and farmers, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development asked the provinces and cities to direct the provincial and municipal Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development and of Industry and Trade to inform firms of the directive on the suspension of produce transport to Lang Son Province.
Lang Son Province and other border provinces should closely monitor the status of customs clearance at the border gates to keep the country’s localities updated with information on the situation, Tien stated in the notice.
Tien also told the localities to encourage firms to ramp up their consumption of vegetables, fruits and seafood to serve the local market.
Nguyen Thi Hong Thu, director of Chanh Thu Export and Import Fruit Company in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre, pointed out that China’s move is expected to take a toll on Vietnam’s farm produce exports.
The firm is only transporting agricultural products to border gates when partners have placed orders to minimize losses, she said.