Vietnam’s agriculture exports is taking a hit as China maintains a very strict inspections regime at northern border gates as a Covid-19 prevention measure.
As of Friday, as many as 4,000 container trucks were stranded at the border gates in Lang Son Province, said Le Thanh Hoa, deputy head of the Department of Processing and Trade for Agro-Forestry-Fisheries products under the agriculture ministry.
At the three border gates of Huu Nghi, Tan Thanh and Chi Ma, the current customs clearance speed has fallen by more than half to about 220 container trucks per day, Hoa said at a conference on agriculture trade held Saturday in Hanoi.
For each truck carrying dragon fruit, jackfruit and other fruits stuck at the Tan Thanh gate, it was taking 10-14 days on average to get customs clearance.
At the Mong Cai border gate in Quang Ninh Province, just one truck gets cleared every week, Hoa said.
The management board of the Mong Cai gate said Saturday morning that as many 800 trucks of frozen seafood and 300 trucks of fruits were stranded there.
Hoa recommended that businesses carefully check agricultural products exported via border gates because China has been strengthening its Covid-19 disease control regime, resulting in careful, stringent inspections of products entering its territory.
To cope with this situation, exporters have to carefully prepare the packaging of their goods so that they can get through the customs easily and at fast pace, he said.
On the other hand, to avoid congestion and save costs, businesses need to arrange a reasonable clearance time and not send many trucks to the border gates at the same time, he added.
After the fourth Covid-19 wave hit Vietnam late April, China has been increasing inspections and disinfection of goods and means of transport and drivers from the country.
They are also tightening the management and traceability of goods, which has contributed to lengthening the customs clearance procedure.
In September, China had temporarily ceased the import of dragon fruit from Vietnam after detecting the novel coronavirus on its packaging. It had also reported a similar detection on Vietnamese mangosteen early August.
Hu Suo Jin, Economic and Commercial Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam, said the pandemic in Vietnam was developing quite complicatedly and exporters need to disinfect the means of transport and drivers also need to increase adoption of preventive measures to avoid leaving the virus on goods.
In addition, if possible, Vietnamese goods should be labeled with a negative test certificate on their packaging, he said.
China is one of Vietnam’s top trading partners. The import-export turnover of agro-forestry-fishery products between the two countries had grown strongly from $8 billion in 2015 to $11 billion last year.
China was Vietnam’s second-largest export market for agricultural, forestry and fishery products behind the U.S., posting an export turnover of $8.4 billion in the first 11 months of the year, accounting for 19.2 percent of Vietnam’s total agricultural exports.
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