Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh spoke to Thoi Bao Kinh Te Vietnam (Vietnam Economic Times) about ways to prevent produce from being stuck at border gates.

Q: Why is it so difficult for many of our agricultural products to find markets?

Our agriculture production tends to be based on short seasons, therefore the harvesting and sale of produce last for only a short time.

The situation might arise when we harvest more than we can sell. This has happened to products such as rice, rubber and fruit, which has left farmers vulnerable to changes in the market. In addition, we have not done well in helping farmers sell their goods.

In the past three years, the world market for farm products has also experienced many price fluctuations. Besides, the economic recession in many parts of the world and recovery efforts affect the demand of agricultural products. Some of our strong export products such as rice, rubber, coffee have experienced many troubles in the world market. There is also strong competition among export countries and this will continue.

Q: Border trade is considered the right way to promote sales of farm products. Therefore, why have we let border problems continue for many years?

As part of trade relations between China and Vietnam, enterprises from both countries have signed many agreements and contracts based on international rules and regulations.

Every year, we export about two million tonnes of rice to China through official channels, about one million tonnes of rice and 100,000-130,000 tonnes of watermelon under small-scale trade.

However, border trade or small-scale trade does carry many risks, because they tend to be without contracts, use cash only and are conducted on the basis of cash and delivery.

Therefore it's difficult to monitor these activities, especially in terms of customs procedures and trading activities at the border.

It's true there are limitations for small-scale trade, but businesses from both sides still want to use this method to enter Chinese markets.

We know that every year our farm products get stuck at border gate and farmers can suffer heavy losses if they can't sell their products to Chinese traders. To prevent this, the Industry and Trade Ministry and the Agriculture Ministry are trying to find ways to minimise the losses for everyone.

Q: To limit products from being sold through small-scale channels, what has the Trade Ministry been doing?

To prevent agricultural products from being stuck at the border gate, the Trade Ministry has been implementing many solutions and we'll organise a conference on May 10 to assess the situation.

Besides, we have increased efforts in market research to monitor information, data, and other information. Therefore, we can come up with better direction for production, harvesting and exporting for upcoming seasons.-VNA