Fruit, veggie exports decline in January hinh anh 1The fruit-veggie sector aims to gross 5 billion USD from exports in 2020 on the back of new-generation free trade agreements. (Illustrative image. Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) –
Vietnam exported over 280 million USD worth of fruit and vegetables in January, a year-on-year decline of 20.6 percent, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

The Import-Export Department of the Ministry of Industry and Trade said fruit and vegetables to China fell by more than 10 percent in January against the same month last year.

The reduction was attributed to the temporary closure of border gates due to the outbreak of the acute respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The ministry suggested the sector proactively should adjust production activities and seek to boost exports to other markets such as the US, Europe, Japan and Australia.

The sector aims to gross 5 billion USD from exports in 2020 on the back of new-generation free trade agreements, according to the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association (VINAFRUIT).

With the EU – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) expected to take effect this year, tariffs on Vietnamese fruit and vegetables will fall to zero, helping their value increase significantly.

Besides, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will open new markets for Vietnamese products.

According to Dang Phuc Nguyen, the association’s general secretary, the target is achievable, especially because a large amount of fruit and vegetables are now being grown under VietGAP and Global GAP standards to meet requirements of selective markets.

Last year, shipments of fruit and vegetables lagged behind expectations, reaching only 3.8 billion USD, a year-on-year slide of one percent.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade said that 2019 was a really tough year for the sector. China, the country’s largest importer, tightened requirements for imports from Vietnam via strict quarantine measures and origin traceability.

However, growth was seen in shipments to several markets such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (26.6 percent), the US (10.7 percent) and the European Union (32.2 percent)./.