Ministry of Agriculture develops project to boost exports to China

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A radical solution to avoid the congestion of trucks of agricultural products at the borders requires a good understanding of the Chinese market and the creation of a specific project to stimulate exports to China.

The border standoff has been a headache for farmers and exporters for years. Despite discussions and working sessions, the problem has not been resolved.

Lang Son People’s Committee vice-chairman Do Thu Ha said the agricultural produce stalemate occurred again at the border after the Tet holiday.

As of March 4, in Lang Son, 1,400 trucks carrying goods, including 800 carrying agricultural products, were waiting for customs clearance. The province stopped receiving truckloads of fresh fruit until March 15.

Ha estimated that the number of fruit trucks in Lang Son from March 15 to April 20 could reach 2,000. Trucks continue to flock to border crossings as fruit is the main crop.

To speed up customs clearance, agencies at the Lang Son border post have adopted unprecedented delivery methods. They exchange information hourly and daily with Chinese agencies to ensure the customs clearance process.

There are 13 of the 78 operational border crossings. However, since February 26, agricultural products are exported through the LangSon border post.

Ha said the province has implemented a green zone in border areas, but Vietnam and China have different regulations, which has affected customs clearance.

Ha said farmers should increase the processing of agricultural products rather than relying on fresh fruits.

Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Le Minh Hoan said the stalemate in agricultural products had happened in the past, but the situation was worse this year due to the pandemic. He said the problem is due to unprofessional agricultural production.

“In agricultural production, we just try to produce results, and we still don’t think economically. We do not understand markets well, and market production and consumption do not match.

“We need to find radical solutions that help us master the markets and minimize risk,” Hoan said.

Nguyen Thanh Binh, president of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association, said solutions have been applied but they have not brought the expected effects. Companies like to “follow the trail” and “keep things simple”, so they prefer to export their products across borders rather than through official channels. They believe that China is an easy market to satisfy, but the market has become more selective.

“The Chinese market is no longer easy to satisfy. New quality and food safety requirements have been set,” he said.

His company has been exporting flower starch to China for many years, but in 2010-2012, when the Chinese government set new requirements, the company had to use new technologies to meet the new requirements set by the partners.

Hoan said China has become a difficult market and Vietnamese exporters have been warned.

When deadlock occurs, questions arise: why do exporters rely on one market and not try to diversify markets to mitigate risk? Why don’t companies think about processing products and not just exporting raw products? Why don’t they think about standardizing products to export them through official channels?

However, according to Hoan, when trucks get cleared, farmers and companies “forget” about these issues and don’t try to find solutions to the problem.

Radical solution needed

Phan Van Chinh, director of the import-export department of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT), said cross-border exports have been maintained due to demand from both sides and China’s refund policy. taxes.

He said to export products through official channels, Vietnam must produce products that meet the requirements and criteria established by the target market, and negotiate with China on production recognition.

He suggests companies consider exporting their products by rail to ease pressure on roads and waterways and take full advantage of free trade agreements (FTAs).

In the immediate term, in order to reduce the congestion of agricultural products, the MOIT has proposed that the border provinces build multi-purpose transshipment centers allowing importers to pre-select, process and pre-pack goods, and follow customs procedures. and quarantine procedures before the goods are shipped to China.

Hoan said his ministry would have a working session with agencies this week to develop a specific project on shifting from border trade to official quota exports to the Chinese market.

The ministry will also create a specific project for the EU market, a high potential market with 27 countries.

He said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) will speed up negotiations and the signing of decrees on the recognition of agricultural products, the basis for Vietnam to boost exports through official channels.

He pointed out that Vietnam is not the only seller in the Chinese market. It must compete with other countries that export the same products to China.

Tran Thuong

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Exports to China still blocked at the border, trade stagnates

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