Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development yesterday announced that the nation’s exports of fruit and vegetables reached more than US$3.7 billion in 2019. This was down 1.9% compared to 2018, which was mainly due to the sharp decline in export volumes and revenues regarding the Chinese market.
Although China remained the leading export market of Vietnamese fruit and vegetables in 2019, Vietnam’s export turnover to this market in the first 11 months of 2019 fell by 13.2% over the same period in 2018. The decline came from China's tightening of imports through unofficial channels, causing big changes for a number of Vietnam's agricultural exports, including fruit and vegetables.
Chinese standards and regulations still confusing
Furthermore, many producers and Vietnamese enterprises are still confused by the standards and regulations that China has set for eligibility to export to China through official channels. Specifically, the regulations relate to the traceability and planting area registration of agricultural products, and the registration of packaging manufacturers and labels of products, among others.
A number of fruits exported to China must meet very specific regulations, including that the transport of watermelons must use porous mesh and that jackfruit is wrapped in kraft paper or contained in carton boxes with printed traceability information. Bananas must be put into paper boxes or plastic bags with codes of origin printed with traceability information. So far, only nine Vietnamese fruits are eligible to be exported to China through official channels, namely dragon fruit, watermelon, rambutan, mango, lychee, longan, banana, jackfruit and mangosteen.