Vietnamese farmers call out China’s tight-fistedness in granting production unit codes

By Thi Ha   February 15, 2023 | 05:12 am PT
China has granted Vietnam only a 10th of the production unit codes for agricultural produce that it has given Thailand.

Speaking at an online forum on promoting agricultural trade with China Tuesday, Dang Phuc Nguyen, general secretary of the Vietnam Fruit Association, said it took Vietnamese dragon fruit six or seven months to receive the codes, while only 5% of Vietnam’s durian growing areas have got them.

PUC is an identification number for a growing area to monitor and control production and pests, and trace origins.

Dragon fruit being harvested in the central province of Binh Thuan. Photo by VnExpress/Viet Quoc

Dragon fruit being harvested in the central province of Binh Thuan. Photo by VnExpress/Viet Quoc

The number of Vietnamese fruits allowed to be exported to China under the official quota remains small, Nguyen said.

Seven out of 12 fruits are still exported to China through border trade, making it difficult for some key items such as dragon fruit, mango and jackfruit to penetrate deep into that market, he added.

Le Hang, communications director for the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, said Vietnam needs to coordinate with China to speed up the issuance of PUCs so that it could tap its competitive advantage in seafood.

Huynh Tan Dat, deputy director of the plant protection department, said local businesses need to reorganize production and review PUCs in accordance with China’s criteria to make inspection fast and smooth.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan said the government considers China a key market, and if Vietnamese firms meet China’s PUC requirements, they could export their products consistently.

The ministry’s department of agricultural product processing and market development said both countries need to improve their technical infrastructure to ensure agricultural products could be quarantined at Dong Dang - Pingxiang and Lao Cai - Hekou railway stations.

They should step up investment in cold storage in border areas, it said.

Last year bilateral trade was worth $175.5 billion, or 24% of Vietnam’s total imports and exports. China is Vietnam’s largest fruit market, accounting for 45.4% of its exports. In the case of litchi and dragon fruit, it accounts for 90% and 80%.

It also buys 91.5% of cassava and cassava products exports, and is Vietnam’s third largest seafood export market after the U.S. and Japan.

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