Vietnam dragonfruit

Vietnam’s largest export market for fresh produce, China, has tightened import standards leaving Vietnam to look toward other markets.

Since 2018 China has been increasing its requirements for many fruits and vegetables exported from Vietnam, with new rules regarding testing, quarantine, quality control and traceability introduced.

According to a Nhân Dân report, data fromVietnam’s Import-Export Department (Ministry of Industry and Trade) shows the value of fresh produce exported to China in the first ten months of 2019 reached US$2.08bn, a 14.5 per cent drop compared to the same period in 2018.

Dang Phuc Nguyen, general secretary of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetables Association, told Nhân Dân that Vietnamese companies had not yet been able to fully adapt to China’s new requirements.

Nguyen said to compensate for this, exporters were turning to other markets, particularly those Vietnam has signed Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with, such as the EU, South Korea and Japan.

In the first 10 months of 2019, the export revenue of fruits and vegetables sent to markets excluding China increased by 10 per cent.

Notably, export revenue to the EU rose 32.2 per cent (to US$121.7 million) on the back of a new FTA. Meanwhile, export revenue to ASEAN countries increased 26.6 per cent (to US$146.4m) and export revenue to Japan rose 26.2 per cent (to US$100.7m).

Nguyen Thi Mai Linh, head of the Agricultural, Forest and Aquatic Product Import-Export Division in Vietnam’s Import-Export Department, told Nhân Dân these markets contained lots of potential and the growth in exports to these markets may be a silver lining to Vietnam’s troubles with China.

Linh said Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade had been helping companies to take advantage of Vietnams’ FTAs, but the fresh produce industry also had to improve the quality of its produce and meet the standards of importing countries to increase the competitiveness of Vietnamese produce.