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Friday, February 3, 2023

Optimistic prospect for veggie, fruit export as China eases Covid rules

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – China’s relaxation of Covid rules is expected to spur Vietnam’s vegetable and fruit exports and help the sector earn US$4 billion in 2023.

Agro products exported to China via phytosanitary protocols are forecast to grow rapidly this year thanks to the reopening of the biggest market for Vietnamese vegetables and fruits.

The protocols paved the way for Vietnamese crops to enter the Chinese market. Thanks to them, durian shipments to the northern neighbor in October 2022 skyrocketed to US$49.9 million, accounting for nearly a third of the total export turnover from the market, 42.2 times higher than in the same period in 2021.

According to the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association (VINAFRUIT), durian exports brought over US$300 million from the protocol signing date until the end of 2022. It predicts that the fruit will experience the sharpest growth among agro-products being sold to China in 2023, bringing in US$1 billion.

Other fruits have also benefited from the protocols. Bananas exports to China from January to September 2022 grew 60% year-on-year to 600,000 tons, with the third quarter alone accounting for 43% of the nation’s total banana imports.

While the protocols give momentum to vegetable and fruit exports, the loosening of Covid-19 restrictions is expected to boost the industry.

From January 8, China will no longer implement Covid-19 measures, including nucleic acid testing, at ports of entry for imported goods, the Chinese customs said.

Meanwhile, the authority of Mong Cai City in the northeastern province of Quang Ninh has started to loosen its Covid-19 prevention and control measures, the local media reported.

Accordingly, the city will lift Covid-19 PCR testing requirements for people and commodities at border gates from January 8.

“The revocations would facilitate the transport of vegetables and fruits to the northern market while reducing freight charges, thereby giving Vietnam a competitive advantage over its opponents,” news site thanhnien.vn reported, quoting Dang Phuc Nguyen, VINAFRUIT’s General Secretary.

China has long been the biggest buyer of Vietnamese farm produce, accounting for over 50% of the export turnover of these products.

With its reopening and Vietnam’s signing of free trade agreements and phytosanitary protocols, vegetable and fruit exports this year should grow 20% over 2022, hitting US$4 billion, Nguyen added.

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