Statement from Chinese Premier comes after fruit imports from Vietnam more than doubled in value in 2023


Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh

Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Chinese Premier Li Qiang have expressed their desire to increase Vietnam’s fruit exports to China at a recent economic forum. 

As part of the Annual Meeting of the New Champions of the World Economic Forum (WEF) held in Dalian, China, the pair met to discuss further economic and commercial cooperation between the two countries. 

According to reporting from Vietnam News, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh requested China open its market to agriculture and aquaculture products including fruits from Vietnam. 

Chinh said he hoped the protocol and complete market opening procedures for Vietnamese frozen durian and fresh coconut would be finalised soon. He also expressed a desire to gain access for other fruits, including citrus, avocados, custard apples and passionfruit. 

Li said China would open its market more to Vietnamese goods, especially high-quality fruits, according to Vietnam News. He added that China would also support policies for the two countries’ commerce to grow sustainably. 

In 2023 Vietnam exported US$2.84bn worth of fruit products to China, up 123 per cent on the previous year, according to a China Chamber of Commerce report. The increase was largely due to securing official market access for fresh durian in July 2022. Export volumes reached 493,000 tonnes in 2023, up 1,100 per cent year-on-year.  

However, challenges have emerged for Vietnam’s durian industry recently. According to a report from the South China Morning Post, China’s General Administration of Customs told officials in Vietnam in a letter on June 11 that it would stop shipments from 18 durian plantations and 15 packers citing excessive amounts of “heavy metals” in the fruits. 

More recently China also approved access for fresh durian from Malaysia, adding another supply source to the competitive durian market.