China drives Vietnam's agricultural export boom

June 28, 2023 | 15:11
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Vietnam has witnessed a significant surge in agricultural trade with China, with the total import-export turnover between the two nations reaching an impressive $175.6 billion in 2022. Amidst the challenges faced by other key export sectors in the US and EU markets, Vietnamese agricultural products have experienced remarkable success, particularly in China.
China drives Vietnam's agricultural export boom

The value of fruit and vegetable exports in May alone amounted to $656 million, helping the sector hit a total of $2 billion for the first five months of the year, marking a substantial 43 per cent increase on-year.

The Chinese market constituted nearly 64 per cent of Vietnam's total fruit and vegetable exports for that same period, and China has positioned itself as the primary consumer of Vietnamese produce. Exports to the country were valued at $1.28 billion, up more than 80 per cent compared to the same period last year.

According to local media Zingnews, durian, in particular, has witnessed an extraordinary surge in export value to China, recording an astonishing $332 million in May alone – a ten-fold increase from the previous month.

From the start of the year until May, total durian exports accounted for $503.4 million, an increase of $475.8 million compared to the $27.6 million recorded during the same period last year. Of this, durian exports to China accounted for an impressive $477 million, representing 95 per cent of Vietnam's overall export market.

Despite obtaining official export permission to China only as recently as last September, the robust activity in durian exports reflects the potential for a remarkable $1 billion valuation for the year.

In the first 20 days of June alone, Vietnam's fruit and vegetable exports reached $723.3 million, surpassing the previous month's figure of $656 million and exhibiting a 79 per cent on-year increase. Forecasts suggest that fruit and vegetable exports for the first half of the year could reach $3 billion, equivalent to the entire of 2022.

Along with fruits and vegetables, other Vietnamese agricultural products, including rice, coffee, pepper, and cashews, are also performing well in the Chinese market.

According to statistics provided by Vietnam's General Department of Customs, rice exports from Vietnam reached 3.62 million tons in the first five months of this year. Rice, in particular, stands out as a commodity that continues to increase in export turnover amidst challenging market conditions.

Exports of this staple food to China surged by 79 per cent, amounting to $365 million. Furthermore, the average export price of rice to China reached $589 per tonne, an 18 per cent increase compared to the same period last year.

According to data from China's General Administration of Customs, the country has reduced rice imports from India, Pakistan, and Thailand while significantly increasing imports from Vietnam. As a result, Vietnam's market share in China's total rice imports has risen to 19.2 per cent, compared to 6.7 per cent a year ago.

During a discussion on June 26 with Chinese Premier Li Qiang, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh emphasised the importance of leveraging geographical advantages and interconnectivity to strengthen substantial cooperation in various sectors.

He proposed that China expedite market access for Vietnamese agricultural and seafood products, establish a Vietnam Trade Promotion Office in Chengdu and Haikou, improve the efficiency of customs clearance, resolve any outstanding issues in cooperative projects, and expedite the implementation of non-refundable aid from China to Vietnam.

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By Tri Lam

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