Vietnam is set to begin exporting rambutans to New Zealand after years of trade negotiations between the two countries. (Photo: gocom.vn)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam is set to begin exporting rambutans to New Zealand after years of trade negotiations between the two countries.

The move comes after a meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue and senior officials from the government of New Zealand in July of last year during Hue’s official working visit to the country.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s plant protection department, Vietnam currently grows three varieties of rambutan. These are java, Thai and nhan rambutans. Nhan rambutans are smaller than other varieties and are considered to have the best taste among rambutan varieties. 

The fruit is mainly grown in the southern provinces, with a total area of more than 50,000 ha dedicated to rambutan growing, supplying roughly 300,000 tonnes of the fruit per year.

A report from the Vietnam Commerce Office in New Zealand showed that the annual exports of rambutans from Vietnam are modest. The country’s turnover from fresh fruit exports have not been stable, and have much untapped potential.

New Zealand only allows imports of goods that pass the country’s risk analysis, their health standards are also among the strictest in the world. The number of items considered annually for import by the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) is relatively limited in comparison to other countries.

Currently, Vietnam exports just two fresh fruit items to New Zealand: mango and dragon fruit. Vietnamese rambutans passed the country’s import risk assessment in 2014.

The new "passport" for Vietnamese rambutan to New Zealand will contribute to the increased export turnover of vegetables and fruits from Vietnam in the coming years. In 2017 the country’s turnover from exporting fruits and vegetables reached over 3.5 billion USD, up by 40 percent from previous years. In the first quarter of this year, the country’s exports of fruit and vegetables valued 950 million USD, a 35.6 percent increase from the same period last year.

Vietnamese rambutan has been exported to the US, Canada, and the EU, as well as the Middle East, Africa, China and neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia.

According to international regulations on imports of fresh fruit, rambutans must meet strict criteria before being considered by importers. Currently, each country has its own criteria for imported fruit, so businesses must comply with the quarantine standards of the importing country. – VNA