Fruit exports to China face border delays

As major fruits are entering the peak harvest season, Vietnamese officials have warned of the risk of worsening congestion at border gates with China in the northern region due to high export volumes.

The Department of Industry and Trade in Lang Son Province, which borders China, recently sent a document to businesses and traders, warning about the situation related to exports to China through Huu Nghi International Border Gate.

“This could damage businesses as the quality of fruits would be ruined in just a few days due to hot weather,” the department says.

According to the latest report from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, fruit and vegetable exports in the first five months of this year fetched USD1.97 billion, up 39 percent year-on-year.

China remained the top buyer of Vietnamese agriculture produce. By the end of last May, China spent USD805 million buying Vietnamese vegetables and fruits, accounting for 59 percent of the market share.

The Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association forecast that the fruit and vegetable export to China will increase sharply in the coming time as some kinds of fruit are entering the peak harvest season. Jackfruit, mango, durian and dragon fruit are popular with Chinese consumers.

Nguyen Dinh Tung, general director of Vina T&T Import Export Trading Service Company, said goods shipped to China, including durian, dragon fruit and banana, helped its export turnover increase 20 percent.

The company has signed contracts to export 1,500 containers of durian to China this year.

Congestion at border gates with China often occurred during the peak fruit harvest season, especially in late 2021 and early 2022 as thousands of trucks carrying agricultural products were stuck at border gates due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The situation that lasted several months, caused heavy losses to businesses and farmers. Fearing that their fruits would rot, many business owners focused on the domestic market and sold their fruit at very cheap prices.

Businesses asked authorities to give early warning to them to avoid congestion at border gates in peak months. At the same time, authorities should widen fruit exports through more border gates, instead of just a few main border gates as presently.

During a recent meeting, both China and Vietnam acknowledged that the customs clearance situation at the border gates had seen issues with peak fruit harvest season here.

Both sides agreed to establish a smart customs system at border gates in the coming time.

The Chinese side would consider allowing Vietnamese businesses to export fruits through all nine border gates instead of only six as now to reduce congestion.