|Harvesting litchi in Luc Ngan district. Photo: VNA|
Shifting exports from small quota to official quota
Currently, Lang Son maintains customs clearance of goods at five border gates including Huu Nghi, Tan Thanh, Chi Ma, Coc Nam, and Dong Dang Station. The number of vehicles cleared for import and export in January 2023 reached about 1,000 vehicles/day; Import and export turnover through the province in January 2023 increased by 108.3% over the same period last year.
In which, agricultural products and fruit exports from Vietnam to China account for about 80% of the total value of export turnover through Lang Son province.
Typically, key fruits such as dragon fruit, mango, jackfruit, lychee, watermelon, banana and dried agricultural products such as black jelly, and tapioca starch.
However, according to Mr. Ho Tien Thieu, Chairman of the People’s Committee of Lang Son province, the export situation still faces some problems such as the number of tropical fruit products exported by Vietnam is still limited compared to the production potential; some types of agricultural and aquatic products of Vietnam are facing stiff competition in terms of quality, price, brand, and distribution form from other countries with similar supply.
In addition, the work of building and registering trademarks in China for Vietnam’s agricultural and aquatic products has not been as effective as expected. The form of distribution of Vietnamese agricultural and aquatic products in the Chinese market is still mainly through the traditional trade channel, which has not yet taken advantage of and promoted the e-commerce channel.
According to Mr. To Ngoc Son, Deputy Director of the Asia-Africa Market Department (Ministry of Industry and Trade), over the years, China has perfected its legal system, through two amendments to the Law on Food Safety, and also issued Orders 248, 249 in 2021 and Order 259 in 2022. At the same time, China has continuously strengthened law enforcement by advocating for the regularization of commercial activities and strengthening supervision, strictly complying with regulations.
With Guangxi province alone (accounting for 95% of the border trade turnover between Vietnam and China), Mr. Son recommends gradually shifting exports from small-scale to official quota because more than 90% of imported Chinese watermelons originate from Vietnam. However, because the Protocol has not been signed yet, the export value of fruit is not commensurate with its potential.
Notably, from January 19, 2023, Kep station, Lang Giang district, Bac Giang province was granted permission by the Ministry of Transport to temporarily operate international operations. This will help reduce the load on Gia Lam station as well as help Vietnamese agricultural products penetrate deeper into the Chinese market.
Soon sign the Protocol on Plant Quarantine
Discussing the direction of economic cooperation with the market of billions of people in the future, the representative of the Asia-Africa Market Department recommended that localities and management agencies should develop industry development strategies and build brands in parallel with building production areas, concentrated and large-scale specialized farming areas based on market signals.
“We need to make more effective use of the cooperation mechanism between the two countries to remove difficulties in technical barriers; At the same time, develop a roadmap and plan to open markets for export products, assess domestic production capacity and demand of the Chinese market,” said Mr. Son.
For enterprises, the representative of the Ministry of Industry and Trade suggested regularly updating and complying with regulations on quality standards, testing, quarantine, packaging, and traceability of the Chinese market. Along with that, businesses must focus on branding, and brand protection and carefully study the needs and development trends of the market.
A number of measures have been put in place, including building a team of staff who are fluent in the market and languages, taking advantage of the Vietnam-China rail transport route and promoting the exploitation of the market through electronic commercial forms.
In order to increase the export turnover of agricultural products to the Chinese market, the People’s Committee of Lang Son province also proposed the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development strengthen exchanges and negotiations with the General Administration of Customs of China; signing the protocol on plant quarantine for the remaining fruits to reduce inspection and control procedures at border gates; expanding the list of fruit and agricultural products of Vietnam allowed to be exported to China.
Localities with large growing areas, production and processing areas for export, businesses and industry associations need to strengthen the effectiveness of quality management and food safety for exported goods and comply with regulations of the import market through propaganda and guidance activities in order to meet the regulations on quality standards, food hygiene and safety, traceability and code of the growing area of the export market.