Agricultural firms improve standards to satisfy new Chinese regulations

Duc Otore

Tran Thanh Nam, deputy minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, speaks about farm produce exports to China at a meeting yesterday in HCM City. — VNA/VNS Photo Xuan Anh

Exports of agricultural products to the vast Chinese market are expected to increase if branding and quality of Vietnamese goods improve, speakers said at a meeting on Friday in HCM City.

Tran Thanh Nam, deputy minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that export potential to China was huge, especially for fruit, seafood, rice, wheat flour and rubber.

China’s top agricultural imports from Viet Nam are durian, grapefruit, passion fruit, sweet potato, coconut and mangosteen. In addition, China has approved 13 Vietnamese seafood exporters of tuna, clams and tilapia, among others.

China has become increasingly demanding about traceability and packaging.

“China is raising plant quarantine barriers and has issued stricter regulations on farm produce imports,” he said. “Priority is given to imports through official channels instead of unofficial channels as was done before.”

By June, all Vietnamese agricultural products exported to China via official channels must meet the new criteria.

Nam said that Vietnamese enterprises should learn more about market demand in China and invest in improving their products.

Li Jianying, a representative of the Chinese Consulate in HCM City, said that most products made in Viet Nam could easily be exported to China because of cultural similarities and consumer demand.

The demand for higher quality in China is reflected in its rice imports.

Last year, China imported 2.2 million tonnes of rice from Viet Nam, but the figure dropped to 1.3 million tonnes in 2018 due to demand for high-quality rice.

“Instead of targeting quantity, Vietnamese enterprises should focus on exporting high-quality products to meet demand in the long run,” he said.

Huang Jūn, general director of the Agricultural Products Distribution Group in China’s Liaoning Province, said China’s market of 1.4 billion had huge demand for agricultural products.

“China imports 6 million tonnes of rice, 13 million tonnes of wheat flour, and many other agricultural products and fruits annually,” he said.

In addition, with rapid economic development, people’s incomes have improved and demand for high-quality and high-value products in China has increased.

“Chinese consumers highly value agricultural products from Viet Nam because they are delicious and price-competitive, so this is an opportunity for Vietnamese businesses to boost exports to China,” he said.

To improve quality of imports, China has built large-scale testing and quarantine laboratories comparable to those in the US, Japan and the EU.

To enter China, agricultural and aquatic products of Viet Nam face high barriers and strong competition from other ASEAN-member countries.

To maintain Vietnamese goods’ prestige, businesses should adhere to Chinese regulations on product origin, and give farm produce samples for testing by plant quarantine units.

The government should also research changing consumption trends and issue suitable policies to help local exporters, experts said.

A traceability system to protect consumers is also needed, in addition to investment in warehousing and logistics, which would ensure faster delivery.

To protect the reputation of the agricultural industry, businesses should have a long-term vision and not look for quick profits from low-quality produce or goods, experts recommended.

China has been Viet Nam’s largest trading partner for 10 consecutive years.

Viet Nam’s exports to China reached $38.1 billion in the first 11 months, up 23.2 per cent year-on-year, which was higher than any other market.

As of the end of October, bilateral trade between Viet Nam and China had reached $86.9 billion, up 19 per cent year on year.

Last year, bilateral trade between the two countries totalled $93.7 billion. Exports of agricultural, forestry and fishery products were worth more than $8 billion, accounting for 35 per cent of Viet Nam’s total export turnover.

Viet Nam is one of China’s 10 largest trading partners. — VNS

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