Vietnamese consumers appear to have grown an appetite for imported fruit and vegetables, especially from China and Thailand, data from Vietnam Customs showed.
The country spent $164 million on fruit and vegetable imports in the first two months of this year, up 55 percent against the same period last year.
Thailand alone pocketed over $82 million, accounting for 50 percent of Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable imports. China took second place with 19 percent, followed by Myanmar and the U.S. at nine and eight percent, respectively.
According to Vietnam Customs, imports of fruit from Thailand have jumped since Thai retail giants bought major supermarkets chains Big C and Metro in 2016 and 2015. In addition, Thai growers have adopted a large-scale production process and their produce has surpassed locally grown goods in both quality and appearance.
Despite being a so-called agricultural country, Vietnam has increased it spending on fruit and vegetable imports. In 2016, Vietnam spent $925 million on these products, up nearly 50 percent from 2015.
Economic experts warn that if this trend prevails, Vietnam will slip back into trade deficit in 2017.