China is the biggest export market for Vietnamese fresh fruits worldwide. In 2018 Vietnam exported 1,34 million tonnes of fresh fruits to China. In the first half of 2019 alone exports of fruits to China totalled more than 1,4 billion US dollars.

As Chinese customers demanding higher quality and food safety, market requirements for the import of fresh fruits into China are becoming more stringent. To keep up with requirements for plant health, demands on traceability, labelling, packaging, and standards, the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency VIETRADE under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and GIZ partnered up to hold a workshop for Vietnamese exporters and producers of fresh fruits to discuss compliance with Chinese requirements for market entry. The workshop also aimed to form a cooperation network of producers and exporters in Vietnam to better tackle challenges arising in the official export of fresh fruits to China in future activities.

With over 130 producers and exporters from Northern Vietnamese provinces (Son La, Hung Yen, Hai Duong, Bac Giang provinces) present, Ms. Doan Thi Thu Thuy, Deputy Director General of VIETRADE and Florian Miss, Project Director of the Support of Regional economic Cooperation in Asia (SRECA) project, implemented by GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), opened the workshop on the 28th on November in Hanoi.

Experts and senior officers from departments of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), and the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) updated traders and producers on the latest import requirements of the Chinese market.

So far Vietnam can officially export nine fresh fruit products to China. To officially export specific agricultural products to China, Vietnam has to apply for technical market access through government negotiations. This means, a bilateral protocol on exporting a specific kind of fruit must be signed before any exports are made from Vietnam directly to China. Especially, the recently signed protocol for the market access of Vietnam’s Mango Steen in April 2019 showed the significant changes in the market requirements on fresh fruit imports to China.

The workshop supported participants to fully understand the import requirements of the biggest export destination for Vietnamese products in the region. This helps to be more confident and proactive in search for the right buyers in such a huge market. Better compliance with the rules for market access in their production, processing, storage and transportation helps Vietnamese businesses in getting their consignments through the checkpoints smoothly, saving much time and cost.

The importance of traceability was highlighted: the name of the product, place of production and place of packaging or marking / coding must be written in Chinese or English on the package. Moreover, all the producers of fresh fruits exports to China must register for the information coding system conducted by the Vietnamese Plant Protection Department (PPD) of MARD and be verified by General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC).

The workshop served as a platform for Vietnamese exporters to raise their concerns related to production and export procedure. A cooperation network among exporters to update on latest regulations and provide consultancy and services suitable for network members, will be set up to strengthen Vietnamese SMEs further in exporting their agricultural goods.