Vietnam calls on China to resume import of ornate rock lobsters

By Phuong Dung   November 29, 2023 | 05:00 pm PT
Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien has urged China to consider resuming imports of ornate rock lobsters from Vietnam at an early date.

He made the request Monday at the 12th meeting of the inter-governmental China-Vietnam Economic and Trade Cooperation Committee.

Exports of the lobsters, one of Vietnam’s major seafood products, to China were stopped two months ago due to that country’s amendments to wildlife conservation laws that now require clear proof of the farming process, including using only second-generation (F2) lobsters raised in farms for breeding and not wild ones.

Importers in China need to apply for a certification from its Bureau of Fisheries.

Ornate rock lobsters at a seafood store in HCMC. Photo by Ganhhaisan

Ornate rock lobsters at a seafood store in HCMC. Photo by Ganhhaisan

Responding to the request, Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao said Vietnamese ornate rock lobster farms and packing facilities need to register with China Customs.

Relevant departments in both countries need to inspect and review businesses and aquaculture facilities that export the lobsters to China, he said further.

He praised Vietnam for its high-quality agricultural products, citing the example of durian fruits, which make up nearly US$2 billion of its exports to China.

Agricultural products from Vietnam are highly sought-after on Chinese e-commerce sites.

Wang also said his ministry would help Vietnamese brands establish themselves in the Chinese market and work with Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade to set up an agency for promoting Vietnamese goods.

Dien concurred with Wang’s suggestions and expressed Vietnam’s willingness to cooperate in setting up smart customs in Lang Son Province to expedite movement of goods and strengthen bilateral agricultural cooperation.

China is Vietnam’s biggest trade partner, with their trade valued at $175.6 billion last year. Vietnam is China’s fourth biggest partner.

The country is also one of the top importers of Vietnam ornate rock lobsters, but the recent legal hurdle has significantly affected their exports.

In the year to August Vietnam had exported $76 million worth of ornate rock lobsters to China, a 42% year-on-year decline.

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