Containers line up to ship products to China via Tan Thanh Border Gate, Lang Son Province. Many firms are seeking to boost exports to China via official channels.

Firms aim to boost official farm exports to China

Hanoi (VNS/VNA) – Many Vietnamese firms want to boost exports of agricultural products to China via official channels to gain higher value and avoid risks from unofficial cross-border trade, but face a number of difficulties in seeking to bring their trade above-board.  In recent years, an estimated 60 percent of Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports to China were conducted via informal cross-border trade – transactions across the boundaries that were not recorded by customs authorities and were conducted by small and unregistered traders.

 According to Do Ngoc Chat, Director of the Viet A Company, only a few agricultural products of Vietnam are accepted to be exported to China via official channels.

For example, only eight types of fruits—dragon fruit, watermelon, lychee, longan, banana, mango, jackfruit and rambutan—were allowed to be exported via official channels to China.

According to Le Thanh Hoa from the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority, many agricultural products of Vietnam could not be exported to China via official channels because the two governments had not finished negotiations on procedures and quarantine checks.

Chat said that many farm produce of Vietnamese strength such as coconut, avocado, durian and sweet potatoes could not be exported via official channels and must be exported in small volumes.

Chat said that Vietnam’s exports to a huge market like China via official channels remained modest.

“We don’t want to conduct unofficial cross-border trade for many types of fruits and vegetables. We want to promote exports to China via official channels to gain higher value and security in payment,” he said.

According to Nguyen Dinh Tung, Director of the Vina T&T Group, informal cross-border trade was disadvantageous for both traders and farmers.

For example, green-skin polemo were exported to China at low prices because they were not accepted through official channels, Tung said.

Transportation costs in informal cross-border trade are higher and the risk of not receiving payment is also higher, he said.

Tung added that if Chinese traders suddenly stop or tighten informal cross border-trade on any product, the product’s prices might fall to rock bottom.

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