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Agriculture Ministry denies that cross-border exports are low-quality products

Vietnam exported $3.52 billion worth of vegetables and fruits in 2021, an increase of 8.6 percent over the year before. China remains the biggest client consuming 54.5 percent of the exports.

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China allows Vietnam’s nine fruits, including mango, litchi, dragon fruit, water melon, bananas, rambutan, jackfruit and mangosteen, to be exported to the market through official channels. Durian, passion fruit and purple sweet potato are also expected to be allowed to enter the market in the time to come.

Meanwhile, the majority of fruits and vegetables have been traded across border gates under the unofficial quota mode.

The statistics from Lang Son Customs Agency show a small proportion of farm full-tax exports through Lang Son. According to the agency, the exports just account for 3 percent of total farm exports to China.

Rumor has it that farm produce exported to China under the mode of unofficial quotas have low quality.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Thanh Nam affirmed that official and unofficial quotas are just different trade modes, and have no relations with the quality of exports.

He said that China, which is pursuing a ‘zero Covid’ policy, has tightened inspection over imports. This means that Chinese agencies examine imports through official or unofficial channels. Fruits and vegetables can only penetrate the Chinese market if they meet the requirements and have traceability.

“It’s not correct to say that cross-border exports to China have low quality,” he stated.

Elaborating on the requirements on exports to China both cross-border gates and through official channels (land and seaway), an official from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) affirmed that the strict requirements are not only set on fruit exports but on seafood products as well.

Only workshops with growing-area codes and packaging facilities recognized by Chinese agencies can export products to the market.

To date, nearly 2,000 growing area codes have been granted to to export products to China. Dragon fruit alone has 247 codes.

According to Lang Son Customs Agency, Vietnamese businesses have many years of experience in exporting produce across border gates. Under Chinese border trade policy, import taxes are exempted for border area residents when importing farm produce from Vietnam.

Vietnamese and Chinese businesses therefore prefer trade across border gates. Products are carried across border gates and small consignments are gathered to create larger ones which are carried inland for consumption.

In the latest news, Mong Cai border gate in Quang Ninh and Lao Cai border gate in Lao Cai have opened for customs clearance. Vietnamese businesses can resume the export of fruits after many days of interruption. 

T. An

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