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Vietnam to block Australian 2015 fruit imports
The department will also stop granting plant quarantine certificates for Australian fruit from January 1, 2015, according to department head Nguyen Xuan Hong.
Hong attributed the import ban to the fact that fruits in Australia have been hit by Mediterranean Sea fruit flies, which could spread to Vietnam via the imports.
Australia is among the top five largest fruit exporters to Vietnam, besides China, the U.S., New Zealand, and South Africa. Vietnam mostly imports Australian cherries, apples, oranges, and grapes.
The Southeast Asian country purchased more than 2,000 tons of fruit from Australia in the first ten months of this year, according to the agriculture ministry.
News about Vietnam’s decision to block Australian fruit shipments emerged as early as November as Vietnamese importers began informing their Australian partners that they will not be permitted to import any fresh fruit from Australia.
Australian broadcaster ABC News reported on November 4 that the country’s Department of Agriculture had confirmed that Vietnam “raised concerns with Australia's fruit fly management systems and is considering suspending trade in Australian fruit.”
The Vietnamese market is worth US$40 million to Australia’s fruit exporting sector, according to ABC News.
Nguyen Thai Dung, deputy general director of Big C, said the supermarket chain imports a large amount of Australian fruit but has yet to be informed of the import ban. “Big C will consider importing pears, oranges and apples from alternative markets such as Japan, New Zealand and the U.S.,” he told the ministry-run newspaper.
Australian fruits are competitive with similar imports in Vietnam thanks to the close geographical proximity between the two countries.
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