Vietnamese imports of passion fruit allowed by China as Durian approval nears

China has approved the import of Vietnamese passion fruit through two land border crossings under a pilot program, according to Vietnamese media reports quoting a government official. The same official, Le Van Thiet, deputy director of the Plant Protection Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, also said that bilateral protocols for the export of Vietnamese durians to China are almost complete, with the possibility that the first expedition may take place this year.

Historically, most of the world’s cultivation and export of passion fruit has been concentrated in South America. However, Vietnam’s passion fruit production and export value has increased by more than 300% in the past five years, propelling Vietnam to fourth place among passion fruit exporters, behind Brazil, Peru and Ecuador.

Passion fruit is also among Vietnam’s most important export fruit crops. Production is expected to reach 135,000 tons this year, mainly from Gia Lai and Dak Lak provinces. Currently, Vietnamese passion fruit is exported to France, Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea, Taiwan, and Switzerland, among other markets.

Vietnam and China have been negotiating market access and export protocols since 2020. The temporary approval of Vietnamese passion fruit to enter China comes as the two sides continue to work on finalizing the protocols. The pilot program can be expanded to include additional border crossings if fruit passing through the initial two crossings meets China’s phytosanitary and quality requirements.

Currently, only Thailand and Laos are allowed to export passion fruit to China through regular trade channels. However, with China’s growing demand for fresh passion fruit for direct consumption as well as food and beverage applications, market access presents a good opportunity for growers and exporters in Vietnam.

Vietnamese durians have not been granted such provisional access in China pending official market access. Fortunately, these negotiations seem to be in the final stretch.

China has always been the largest export market for Vietnamese durians, accounting for around 70% of durian exports from Vietnam. However, since the fruit has not been granted official market access, Vietnamese durians have always been exported to China through “border trade” programs or after being renamed Thai durians.

In early 2019, China stepped up its inspection and enforcement of Vietnamese fruits entering China through border trade and required that all Vietnamese fruits enter China through regular trade channels. This has significantly hindered the export of Vietnamese durians to China and made the process of gaining official market access more urgent. In February, the two sides completed draft protocols for exporting Vietnamese durians to China. The Vietnamese side is now waiting for China to conduct remote inspections of orchards and packing centers.

Durian cultivation in Vietnam is mainly concentrated in the middle and high altitude areas in the south and center of the country. The annual production of durians from Vietnam is around 600,000 tons, and Vietnamese durians are mainly harvested from April to the end of July, with a second smaller harvest between October and March of the following year.

Image: Pixabay

This article was translated fromI am Chinese. Read the original article.