Government agencies have reported a high number of fruit exports to China, considering it a great achievement of Vietnam’s agriculture. But a significant amount of fruit exports to China are from Thailand.
The latest report of the General Department of Customs (GDC) said that fruit exports in the first six months of the year brought turnover of $2 billion, an increase of 20 percent over the same period last year.
China alone consumed $1.2 billion worth of products, up by 18 percent. The US imported $51 million worth of fruits from Vietnam, up by 15 percent, Japan $47 million, South Korea $46.5 million, up by 15 percent, and Thailand $26.1 million, up by 26 percent.
The figures showed China remains the major export market for Vietnam’s fruits, consuming 74.6 percent of Vietnam’s total.
However, GDC pointed out that Thai fruits have ‘contributed’ to impressive growth in exports. Some Vietnamese enterprises exported Thailand-sourced fruits to China, mostly rambutan, dragon fruit, jackfruit, durian and longan.
Nearly 100 percent of mangosteen, durian and longan imported to Vietnam have been re-exported to China.
Meanwhile, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), 90 percent of Thai fruit imports are re-exported to China and the trend began in 2014.
In 2017, a report from the national ASEAN One-stop-shop Office, belonging to GDC, said $0.9 billion worth of fruits were imported to Vietnam and then went to China, which accounted for one-fourth of total vegetable and fruit export turnover.
Another report of GDC showed that besides Thailand, China is also a big exporter of fruits to Vietnam. The total import turnover from the two markets was $384 million, or 64 percent of the total import turnover of this product.
Of this amount, $274 million worth of products from Thailand and $110 million from China.
Considering that, on average, 25 percent of vegetables and fruits from Thailand are re-exported to China, one would see that Vietnam exported $7 million worth of fruits for Thailand.
Meanwhile, the figure was included as Vietnam’s fruit export achievements.
Some exporters said they exported Thai fruits to China simply because Vietnam’s fruits did not satisfy demand and requirements set by China.
The director of a Hanoi-based company attending Vietnam’s fruit trade fair in Thailand in 2017 said some kinds of Thai fruits have uniform size and quality. Therefore, some Vietnamese exporters chose to import Thai products for re-export. It would be more costly if they cooperated with farmers to organize production chains.
Some analysts said that by counting export turnover of Thai fruits, agencies showed false information about Vietnam’s agriculture that could lead to unreasonable policies.