China is the largest market for Vietnam’s agricultural and aquatic products, averaging about 27% of total turnover. The main products exported to China including vegetable, fruit, cashew nut, coffee, cassava, rice, product made from cassava, rubber and seafood.
Coc Nam border gate, Van Lang district (Lang Son) Deserted image at the border gate – Photo: Vo Tuan
Coc Nam, Tan Thanh and Huu Nghi border gates in Lang Son were closed dormant with no trade activities taking place. The Chinese side temporarily suspended import and export goods at sub-border gates until February 9th, 2020. Particularly, Huu Nghi International Border Gate will resume operation on February 3rd, 2020. Currently, only a few people come here. Similarly, in Lao Cai from January 30th, the Chinese side announced the temporary halt to import all Vietnamese goods under the policy of border residents through Lao Cai International border gate until the end of February 8th, 2020. The temporary suspension of border markets has led to the fact that all goods under Vietnamese’s resident policy cannot be imported into China.
Tan Thanh border gate, Vang Lang District (Lang Son) is no longer bustling as usual – Photo: Vo Tuan
According to Mr. Do Truong Giang (Director of Industry and Trade Department of Lao Cai Province): The General Staff timely advised the localities having border residents’ rows to follow the border residents’ preparation to take counter measures. Secondly, we are planning to have a solution to advise the Provincial committee to guide the implementation of goods according to the official border gate to ensure the import and export targets have been set. However, the suspension of border residents’ products has affected mostly to the border region in exporting agricultural products.
From January 25th to January 30th, total imports and exports through Lao Cai International Border gate only reached USD $ 3 million, a decrease of more than 40% compared to the Tet Holiday in 2019.
Hundreds of containers waiting for customs clearance in the border area – Photo: Vo Tuan
As far as you can see, the border gates between Vietnam and China are closed, so does this situation have an impact on Vietnam’s agricultural exports to China?
Mr. Le Thanh Hai (Deputy Director of Export Department, Ministry of Industry and Trade) As we have seen, during the Tet holiday, the volume of goods passing through the border gates has decreased significantly due to the outbreak of diseases has occurred. China is also increasing its control now and will also extend the closure period, especially at an agricultural product trading center in Guangxi province which will also be closed and thus will affect the reception as well as import and export of agricultural and fishery products of Vietnam.
In January, the export turnover of agricultural and aquatic products also decreased compared to the same period in 2019. So, with a move to close the gate due to the epidemic like this, will Vietnam have a positive result in this year? exports in general and exports of agricultural and aquatic products in particular?
Mr. Le Thanh Hai: We are currently monitoring such an epidemic situation and if the epidemic persists, then of course the circulation problem will be affected. From the border gate issue, the transportation problem and the negotiation of agricultural market openings will also be affected. However, we also need to monitor and follow this situation. hopefully in the future if the disease is controlled and the currently restrictive measure will be removed, we will soon recover in order to restore import and export trade relations between Vietnam and China.
Does the Ministry of Industry and Trade recommend to businesses, small businesses and border residents who are dealing with China?
Mr. Le Thanh Hai: For the Ministry of Industry and Trade, we have requested deals to speed up the contacting to dins businesses so we can help Vietnamese businesses to redirect export while waiting for the Chinese market to recover and the restrictive measures to be removed. On the other hand, we must aware that it is the beginning of the larges harvest season in Vietnam, we are in need of help from domestic supermarket groups to boost consumption. Moreover, we also need the logistic enterprise, especially reefer warehouse can support to store the agricultural and fishery products at an acceptable cost, so that we can store those products longer before we can re-export normally.
On the afternoon of January 27, 2020, chairing a meeting on acute respiratory infections caused by the new strain of Corona Virus, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc confirmed that, “The Government accepts some economic losses to protect people’s lives and health “. Therefore, besides the measures of the authorities, Entrepreneurs, Businessmen and Border Residents also need to protect the health of themselves and their relatives.