The COVID-19 pandemic caused Vietnamese fruit and vegetable exports to decline by 12.2% in the first six months of 2020, but shipments to certain markets witnessed a strong growth in that same period.
According to the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, exports to Thailand surged by 233.4% to US$68 million while shipments to the Republic of Korea increased by 21.8% to US$67.4 million. Vietnamese fruit and vegetable exports to Japan and the Netherlands rose by 15.5% and 9% respectively to US$57.7 million and US$34 million. Also, shipments to the United States also climbed by 6.1% and reached US$62 million.
But exports to China, the largest market for Vietnamese fruit and vegetables with a 60.4% market share, fell by 29.1% to a little over US$906 million, compared with US$1.3 billion last year.
With the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement set to take effect on August 1, Vietnam will have more opportunities to boost fruit exports as 94% of tariffs on these products will be eliminated.
In addition, Japan is seeking to increase its fruit and vegetable imports from Vietnam for products such as bananas, dragon fruits, sweet potatoes and lychees.
The Ministry’s Export and Import Department said Vietnamese bananas have become available at the Lotte supermarket system in the RoK while dragon fruits, lychees and rambutans are popular in India. With the European Union – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement taking effect on August 1, AgroTrade Director Nguyen Quoc Toan urged the sector to overcome technical and quality barriers in order to better tap opportunities.