Singapore firms seek suppliers of agricultural products in Vietnam hinh anh 1Dragon fruit processed for export at Cat Tuong Agricultural Products Producing & Processing Co., Ltd. (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNS/VNA) - A delegation of firms from Singapore was expected to visit Vietnam at the end of this month to seek fruit and vegetable suppliers, as imports from China were declining due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Department of Asian – African Markets under the Ministry of Industry and Trade said this hopefully would be a solution to tackle difficulties caused by the epidemic to Vietnam’s exports of agro-forestry-fishery products.

The epidemic, which was hitting a number of sectors of Singapore, forced the country to look for new markets, especially in neighbours like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, to cope with interruptions in trade with China.

Singapore was mostly reliant on imports of agricultural products to meet domestic demand.

This was also a significant opportunity for Vietnam to expand exports of fruits and vegetables to Singapore, diversify export markets and reduce reliance on China, the department said.

On February 18, Singapore announced a financial package worth 4.6 billion USD to cope with the epidemic, which would focus on providing support to companies operating in sectors suffering the most from the epidemic, including aviation, tourism and retail and low-income households.

According to the ministry, Vietnam’s exports of fruit and vegetable products decreased considerably, partly due to the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Customs statistics showed that fruit and vegetable exports in January totalled 280 million USD, representing a fall of 20.6 percent over the same month last year.

Although mainland China was the largest import market of Vietnamese fruit and vegetable products, accounting for 64.8 percent of Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable export value last year, exports to this market in January saw a drop of 32.4 percent to 173.5 million USD.

In January, fruit and vegetable exports to Thailand, Laos, Taiwan and Russia increased at 162 percent, 42 percent and 123 percent, respectively./.