Vietnamese litchi exported to China (Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – Experts gathered at a seminar in Ho Chi Minh City on December 21 to seek measures to help Vietnam’s agricultural products to penetrate deeper into the Chinese market.

Tran Thanh Nam, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said China is now the main importer of Vietnam’s farm products. Through cooperation agreements between the two Governments, Vietnam and China will continue to boost the export of Vietnam’s staples to China such as fruits, seafood, rice, wheat and rubber.

Regarding fruits, China is considering prioritising the import of Vietnam’s durian, pomelo, sweet potato, coconut, custard-apple and mangosteen. For seafood, China has also allowed 13 Vietnamese businesses to ship tuna, oyster and tilapia to the country.

As China imposes higher requirements on product quality, origin and packaging, Vietnamese firms need to pay attention to improving product quality and grasping market demand to have suitable production plans, Nam said.

According Li Jianliang, a representative from the Chinese Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City, potential for cooperation between Vietnam and China in trade of agricultural products remains huge. However, the consumption trend of Chinese people is rapidly changing.

He cited that in 2017, China bought 2.2 million tonnes of rice from Vietnam but this year’s figure stands at only 1.3 million tonnes.  The reason behind the decline is that Chinese people now prefer using high-quality rice products.

Therefore, instead of focusing on quantity, Vietnamese businesses should increase the export of high-quality and high-value products to meet the demand of the Chinese market in a long-term manner.

Huang Jun, General Director of a farm produce distribution and consumption group in Liaoning province, said Chinese consumers appreciate Vietnamese agricultural products, especially fruits. This is an advantage and opportunity for Vietnamese companies to boost exports to the neighbouring market.

He suggested increasing direct trade between the two sides’ businesses to bring in greater values.

Vietnam also needs to step up the building of brands for agricultural products as Chinese enterprises now pay attention to product quality and packaging, he added.-VNA