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Vietnam Boosts Agricultural Exports to China: Robust Growth on the Horizon in 2024

China is currently the largest export market for Vietnamese agricultural products. Experts and managers predict a significant growth in the scale and value of agricultural exports to this 1.4 billion-population country in 2024, thanks to various favorable factors.

China is the number one export market for Vietnamese agricultural products.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien stated that the structure of the agricultural export market will change in 2023. China leads the market with an export value of $11.5 billion, accounting for 23.2%, an 18% increase compared to the same period last year. The United States reached $9.5 billion, accounting for 20.6%, a 17.9% decrease, and Japan achieved $3.5 billion, accounting for 7.4%, a 9.1% decrease.

Notably, in the category of fruits and vegetables, China accounts for nearly 54% of the total export value of Vietnamese fruits and vegetables. This includes 90% of exported lychee and 80% of exported dragon fruit. In 2023, alone, the export of durian to China reached $2.3 billion. Additionally, China is the consumer of over 90% of Vietnamese cassava and cassava-based products, over 70% of exported rubber, and is the third-largest market for Vietnamese seafood exports.

Deputy Minister Phung Duc Tien noted that it took considerable effort to achieve the mainstream agricultural export agreements to China, and the goal is to further expand the range of products. Currently, efforts are underway to expand the export of four key products to China, including medicinal herbs, coconuts, frozen fruits, and watermelons, transitioning from traditional to mainstream exports.

Watermelon is now officially allowed to be exported to the Chinese market through mainstream channels. 

With this approval, 14 types of Vietnamese agricultural products have been granted access to the Chinese market through mainstream export channels. Additionally, China has permitted border trade for 12 categories of fruits and vegetables, milk, 805 seafood processing establishments, 40 establishments packaging live crabs and lobsters, and 5 establishments packaging white-leg shrimp, tiger shrimp, and Vannamei shrimp; 128 species/types of products and 48 species of aquatic products.

In the joint statement between Vietnam and China on December 13 during the visit of General Secretary and Chinese President Xi Jinping, both sides agreed to implement practical measures to expand the scale of bilateral trade in a balanced and sustainable manner. The two countries also agreed to enhance cooperation in standardization, ensuring harmony in standards for Vietnamese and Chinese goods and products, especially agricultural products, creating favorable conditions for bilateral trade cooperation. The Vietnamese agricultural sector expects that, following General Secretary and President Xi Jinping's visit to Vietnam, agricultural product trading will be further boosted.

According to the decree, all watermelon cultivation areas and packaging facilities for export to China must register and be approved by both the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam and the General Administration of Customs of China. Cultivation areas must comply with Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and ensure the monitoring of cultivation areas and packaging processes at packaging facilities. Packaging facilities must establish a traceability system to trace the origin of products and cultivation areas with assigned codes.

Maintaining Reputation for the Long Haul in Agricultural Sector.

Currently, China accounts for nearly 54% of the total export value of Vietnamese fruits and vegetables. Notably, 90% of the exported volume of dragon fruit and 80% of the exported volume of longan come from Vietnam. Furthermore, over 90% of exported cassava and its processed products are also directed towards China.

Of particular interest is the fresh durian, a fruit with high economic value that is highly favored by Chinese consumers. The export turnover for durian alone to China reached over USD 2.1 billion in the past 11 months.

"The market share of Vietnamese agricultural products accounts for less than 5% of the total import value of this product group in China. This is an opportunity for Vietnamese enterprises to increase their market share of high-quality agricultural, forestry, and aquatic products in the Chinese market," said Mr. Phung Duc Tien, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.

According to Deputy Minister Phung Duc Tien, with a population of over 1.4 billion people and an expanding middle class, China is a large market for many high-quality agricultural, forestry, and aquatic products from Vietnam. However, to fully leverage the opportunity for accelerated agricultural exports to China, it is essential to demonstrate to Chinese consumers the superior quality of Vietnamese agricultural products and the reliability of trade transactions.

"Vietnam has implemented various measures to improve product quality to meet import requirements. This includes staying updated on market demands and regulations imposed by China related to quality standards, food safety, and disease prevention," shared Deputy Minister Phung Duc Tien.

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