Thailand aims to boost durian exports to China, reclaiming lead from Vietnam

By Minh Hieu   April 8, 2024 | 05:31 am PT
Thailand aims to boost durian exports to China, reclaiming lead from Vietnam
Kadum durians stacked on a truck in Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Kieu Trung
Thailand aims to increase durian exports to China, seeking strategies to reclaim its top exporter position after being overtaken by Vietnam.

The Department of International Trade Promotion in Thailand is urging exporters and government bodies to enhance durian shipments to China. In support of this initiative, Thailand signed a memorandum of understanding with China in mid-March, strategically timed just before Thailand's durian harvest season, reports ECNS, the English platform of the Chinese state news agency China News Service.

The MoU aims to boost and set a stable price for tropical fruit exports from Thailand to China, a move that provides significant advantages for Thai farmers.

It would also revamp the logistics chain by incorporating cutting-edge cold chain and frozen technologies, among other enhancements.

However, the fruits exported from Thailand will face more stringent quality controls.

Under the agreement, China is expected to import around 20,000 tons of durians and mangosteens worth more than 3 billion baht (US$82.44 million) from Thailand from April to June this year.

In the first two months of 2024, Vietnam’s durian exports to China totaled 32,750 tons, nearly 72.4% more than Thailand’s. At US$4,916 per container, Vietnam’s export price was almost 20% lower than Thailand’s.

The export gap could grow even wider as Thailand has already been allowed to export fresh, frozen and processed durians to China while Vietnam can only officially export fresh durians, according to the Thai Department of International Trade Promotion.

"If China allows Vietnam to export frozen durians, its export volume will increase further," Thai online newspaper The Nation quoted the department as saying.

Dang Phuc Nguyen, general secretary of the Vietnam Fruits & Vegetables Association, said Vietnam’s weather allows durian to be grown all year round. It shares a border with China, which offers it an advantage in transportation.

Vietnam’s durian exports are expected to top $3.5 billion this year, up 66% from last year.

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