Infrastructure upgrade needed to smoothen border trade with China

By Dat Nguyen   June 6, 2023 | 06:50 pm PT
Infrastructure upgrade needed to smoothen border trade with China
Hundreds of containers carrying fruits can be seen at a parking zone near the Tan Thanh Border Gate in the northern province of Lang Son in 2020. Photo by VnExpress/ Giang Huy
Border gates with China are being overwhelmed by the trade between the two countries, and need infrastructure upgrades.

For nearly two weeks now the borders in the northern province of Lang Son have been trucks queue up by the hundreds to enter China.

On Sunday 677 trucks were stuck there, 495 of them carrying fruits, mostly at the Huu Nghi Border Gate, the only one through which official exports of fresh durian to China are allowed.

Industry insiders said with Vietnam beginning durian harvest, export demand has increased, and the border congestion could intensify in the coming weeks. Besides, other fruits such as lychee and dragon fruit are also set to be harvested, they said.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Thanh Nam told reporters Monday that border infrastructure could not cope with the huge exports.

Many companies do not communicate their export schedule to authorities, and go whenever they want, causing a surge in traffic at certain times, he said.

"Businesses should register their plans with customs officials to avoid congestion. This also helps with origin tracing."

Building smart border gates is a possible solution for resolving the congestion, he said.

In China, the smart border gate system uses cameras to track vehicles 70 kilometers away from the border and starts processing export paperwork for that vehicle, he said.

Establishing associations to link up Vietnamese and Chinese businesses would also help increase trade under official quotas and reduce congestion, he added.

Authorities in China’s Guangxi and Yunnan offered at a meeting last week to set up more border gates to increase trade, but said Vietnam should to upgrade its infrastructure to match theirs.

They urged Vietnamese officials to use digital tracking systems, Nam said.

Vietnam exported US$3.14 billion worth of agriculture, forestry and fishery products to China in the first four months, the same as last year.

It imported $939.7 million worth of agricultural products from China, marginally down year-on-year.

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