Japanese apples have been sold at supermarkets in Việt Nam since last year. The import value of vegetable and fruits to Việt Nam had strong growth in the first two months of 2017. - Photo baocongthuong.com.vn

From Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI – The country’s import of vegetables and fruits saw strong growth in the first two months of 2017, especially from Thailand and China.

Việt Nam spent US$164 million on the import of vegetables and fruits in the first two months of this year, a year-on-year increase of 54.7 per cent, the General Department of Customs said.

Most imports were from Thailand, which accounted for 50 per cent or $82 million, and China, which stood at 19 per cent or $31 million, of the total vegetable and fruit imports.

Other major markets that Việt Nam has imported vegetables and fruits from are the US for a value of $13 million, New Zealand for $3.8 million and Australia for $2.5 million.

The import value of vegetables and fruits from Thailand in the first two months doubled compared to the same period in 2016, the general department said.

Since 2012, Việt Nam’s average import value of vegetable and fruit products has surged from $200 million per year to $1 billion.

According to the ministries of agriculture and rural development and of industry and trade, the country has been importing vegetable and fruit products mostly from Asia Pacific countries. The main items imported include cabbage, lettuce, potato, orange and apple from China; apple, orange and cherry from New Zealand and Australia; and mango, custard apple and tamarind from Thailand, dantri.com.vn has reported.

Recently, the General Department of Customs warned that many goods that are being produced locally have been imported, increasingly the trade deficit. This included vegetables and fruits from China, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand.

The department pointed out that vegetable and fruit imports from Thailand have increased sharply in the past two years, and that many of these products are already produced at home.

Thai vegetables and fruit entered the local market via distribution channels of hypermarkets and modern retail shops after Thai retail groups bought two large hypermarkets, Big C and Metro, in 2015 and 2016. They have been promoting Thai products at the hypermarkets as well as retail sale systems in Việt Nam.

Also, since 2015, the country eliminated import tariffs on ordinary goods from Thailand.

Vũ Vinh Phú, chairman of the Hà Nội Supermarket Association, said Việt Nam should only import vegetables and fruits that it did not produce locally, such as cherries. It was importing fruits that it grows, such as longan, mango, durian and dragon fruit, which has affected the Vietnamese vegetable and fruit producers, whose competitive ability in terms of quality and price is weak, reported vneconomy.vn.

Local enterprises should improve quality of products and increase production, Phú said, adding that they should be competitive in terms of not just price, but also quality and customer care. — VNS

Keywords: vegetables, fruits, import, trade, agriculture, Vietnam