Vietnam-China border trade slumps on Covid restrictions

By Anh Minh   July 4, 2022 | 02:31 am PT
Vietnam-China border trade slumps on Covid restrictions
Containers stuck near the Vietnam-China border in Lang Son Province in December 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
Vietnam's overland trade with China fell sharply in the first four months of this year as that country tightened Covid-19 safety measures and borders became congested.

Vietnamese firms shipped just US$509-million worth of goods to China through the border, a 87 percent dive year-on-year, according to customs data.

Imports from China dropped by 52.5 percent to $3.64 billion.

China’s zero-Covid strategy and tightened control of cross-border movement have had the biggest effect on trade, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said.

Lack of transport, logistic and cross-border trade infrastructure worsened the situation, it added.

Though trading through key border gates in the northern provinces of Lao Cai and Lang Son has resumed, customs clearance has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.

At Lang Son’s Tan Thanh Border Gate, Vietnam’s main point for fruit export to China, only 100 vehicles get customs clearance a day, a third of the pre-pandemic level.

The ministry has warned that the border congestion could escalate if no measures are taken.

China was Vietnam’s largest partner last year, with bilateral trade reaching $166 billion.

Vietnam exported $56 billion worth of goods to China, its second largest import market, last year.

Trading through the border accounted for $42 billion, 37 percent of it being Vietnamese exports.

Agricultural produce and electronics components are Vietnam’s top export items to China.

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