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No Ban yet for Aussie fruit to Vietnam

Following reports that Vietnam will ban imports of Australian fruits, the Australian Department of Agriculture has confirmed yesterday that there is no import ban in place at the moment and no ban on the issuance of import licences. He did admit there were a number of technical market access concerns that need to be sorted out to avoid problems arising from Vietnam’s transition to new import and regulations due to come into effect on 1 January 2015.

This week some Australian exporters said they are having trouble renewing import licence applications for the export of Australian fruit into Vietnam in 2015.

According to Central Western Daily the Department of Agriculture, which is handling negotiations with the Vietnamese government stated:

“The Vietnamese government has raised concerns over Australia’s fruit fly management systems and is considering suspending trade in Australian fruit.”

“We are working with the Vietnamese government to provide additional information about fruit fly management and control in Australia as we are committed to providing Vietnam with products that meet their importing requirements.”

There have been accusations that Vietnam will impose the ban in response to Australia not allowing the import of Vietnamese dragon fruit, mangoes and lychee although that has not been confirmed. According to one industry source, that is certainly an issue but the Australian market is very different than the Vietnamese market.

He went on to say that the Government should be doing more to sort out these issues.

If there was ban the biggest looser would be the grape industry. Australia exported over 10,000 tonnes of grapes to Vietnam in the 2013/14 season, by far the biggest volume exported from the various fruits. Next is oranges at 1040 tonnes, 403 tonnes of plums were exported. Less mandarins were sent just 258 tonnes, for other stonefruit, cherries 144 tonnes and peaches and nectarines it was 140 tonnes.

What is remarkable is the increase in the export volumes of some of these fruits compared to the 2012/13 season. In total 7195 tonnes more was exported in 2013/14, 3000 of which was grapes. Stonefruit and citrus also saw huge increases, oranges almost double the volumes as with peaches and nectarines, plums increased 6 fold and mandarins saw a massive 9.5 fold increase.