Vietnam pomelo

The US and Vietnam look set to trade citrus before the end of the year, according to a recent report published by Saigon Giai Phong.

Director of the Department of Plant Protection in Vietnam, Hoang Trung, said if nothing changes between now and the end of this year, the US will complete the procedures to allow the export of Vietnamese pomelos.

At the same time, US grapefruits will also be approved for import by Vietnam. Once completed, the two countries will then discuss the opening for other types of fruits, according to the report.

Currently, Vietnam exports dragon fruit, rambutan, mango, longan, star apple, and lychee to the US.

The impact of Covid-19 on trade between the two countries has seen Vietnamese fresh fruit exports to the US drop from 6,000 tonnes from January to August 2019, to 5,000 tonnes during the same period this year.

Timothy Westbrook, the plant quarantine expert representing the US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has arrived at the Son Son Irradiation Centre in Ho Chi Minh City, following two weeks of mandatory isolation.

It’s believed Westbrook will help improve the process involved in exporting fresh fruit from Vietnam to the US.

Trung noted the Son Son Irradiation Centre is the only facility in Vietnam presently recognised by the US to have qualified for the handling of fruits.

“An irradiation centre has been built in Hanoi, and it is in the process of being tested to receive recognition by the US,” said Trung.

“The Son Son Irradiation Centre handles 100 tonnes of fruits each day. It is currently only using about 30 per cent of its capacity, so it does not affect the fruit export progress.

“Furthermore, the quarantine of fresh fruits for export depends on the requirements of each country. The US requires fruits to be irradiated, while Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand require the application of hot water treatment. Therefore, the investment in the construction of a fruit treatment plant depends on the market demand and investors' calculations,” he added.