In the last two years, China has gradually updated its import management policies on importing fresh fruit from Vietnam. Regulations have become more and more strict and tightly enforced. Informal trade has been restricted by requiring registration of orchards and packing houses. Sanitary and phytosanitary requirements for the imported fruits have also become more rigorously implemented. Since China is the biggest fresh fruit export market for Vietnam, in order to meet the changing requirements and demands of the Chinese market, Vietnam needs to strengthen and improve the quality of its agricultural trade facilitation.

The training event held in Can Tho city of Hau Giang province on the 16th of July 2020, co-organised by GIZ and Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (VIETRADE), aimed to capacitate Trade Support Organisations, Trade Promotion Institutes (TPOs/TPIs) and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to successfully export fresh fruits to China, considering the changing requirements from the Chinese market.

A total number of 126 participants attended the one-day event, demonstrating the high relevance and importance of the topic. The participants were from the public and private sectors, with Trade Promotion Agencies under the provincial Department of Industry and Trade, provincial Crop and Plant Protection sub-department, Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association, National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assuarance Department, farmer cooperatives, SMEs of five Southern provinces and Ho Chi Minh city. The five provinces, Can Tho, Tien Giang, Hau Giang, An Giang, and Vinh Long, represented in the event, are among the biggest exporting regions of fresh fruits from the South of Vietnam to China. Speakers were experts and senior officers from departments of different line ministries. Among them, representatives from the Import-Export Department of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT), the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards (SPS) office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the Korean Mas C&G Co., Ltd and consultants from the SRECA project shared their insights with the audience and supported the discussion and exchange at the gathering.

Traceability experts exchanges their insights with participants about what benefits can Vietrade’s newly developed traceability eco-system bring to the SMEs

At the event, participants were provided with updated information on regulations and procedures to obtain the certificate of origin (C/O) for their products and on SPS requirements and procedures for imported fresh fruits from Vietnam to China. Practical cases were demonstrated as examples for participants to grasp the current situation of Vietnam – China trade more clearly. An outlook on expected Chinese requirements, likely to be instituted in the near future, was also envisioned collectively and strategies on how to best prepare compliance with them were discussed. Additionally, key information on packaging design of agricultural products was shared by a designer from the well-known Korean Mas C&G Co., Ltd. In the end, the new Vietnamese traceability ecosystem which is under development by VIETRADE to wholly support enterprises in trade facilitation within the domestic and international markets was introduced. The traceability ecosystem aims to provide a comprehensive service to SMEs. It will cover various themes along the value chain including production, processing, packaging, storage, transportation arrangement, SPS inspection services in and outside of Vietnam, relevant banks, potential cases where lawyers’ support are needed, and trade promotion services.

Group discussion on package designing

To stimulate discussion amongst the participants and give them a chance for more in-depth exchange with the experts who are present, group discussion/coaching sessions were organised on the topics of traceability, trade promotion and package designing. Participants had the opportunity to raise their questions and concerns and get immediate feedback and clarification from the experts. Especially, the group discussion sections created a great opportunity for the SME participants to introduce their businesses and to develop linkages/networks among actors working in the fruit sector and the experts in the field.

More than 84 participants and experts joined the virtual group created by VIETRADE on the popular social media platform zalo. Through this moderated zalo group, VIETRADE aims to create a forum for connection, exchange, advice and support among businesses, support organisations and experts to successfully export agro-products to China.