Ministry targets no drop in exports this year despite COVID-19

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has targeted no drop in export value of agricultural products this year, even though the sector was hit hard by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic from the beginning of this year.

Customs officials of Tan Thanh Border Gate check agricultural products before clearance. Viet Nam kept the goal of agricultural export at US$43 billion despite the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The ministry said that exports to China were seeing signs of recovery. As the COVID-19 pandemic was now under control in China, demand for import of agricultural products was expected to increase from next month.

The ministry said that trade via borders with China was normalising, but at a slower speed due to compliance with quarantine rules.

Exports to the US and European Union (EU) might recover from June or July when these countries managed to control the pandemic, while those to Japan and the Republic of Korea was anticipated to increase from June, but the increases would not be rapid.

The ministry kept the goal for agricultural export at US$42 billion in 2020, as set at the beginning of this year. Exports to China were expected to increase by 10 per cent, to ASEAN and other markets by 9 per cent to make up for the declines in export to the US and EU so as to achieve the target.

Achieving this goal was challenging, as the sector was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic from the beginning of this year, the ministry said, adding that it was necessary to develop not only solutions to cope with the impacts of the pandemic but also long-term solutions to promote sustainable agriculture development.

As China cut tariffs on 80 out of 800 food product categories to promote imports so as to meet its domestic demand together with focus on facilitating transport operation, the ministry said that this provided a significant opportunity for Viet Nam to boost export of agricultural products to the neighbouring market in 2020.

 

The ministry urged firms to focus on processed products and enhancing quality to grasp the opportunity for exports to China, the US and EU when the pandemic was over.

The ministry also urged to the Government to provide agricultural firms with packages of preferential rates to enable them to recover production rapidly. Support should also be provided to logistics and warehouse companies.

Policies for tax and land fee extensions must be issued early, the ministry said.

Agro-forestry-fishery exports totalled US$41.3 billion in 2019, up 3.2 per cent over the previous year but fell short of the target set at $43 billion.

The exports in the first two months of this year were estimated at $5.34 billion, a drop of 2.8 per cent over the same period last year. — VNS

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