Lang Son needs solutions for agricultural exports

09:23 | 01/05/2015 Trade

(VEN) - Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh and representatives of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) recently held a working session on how to resolve Lang Son’s agricultural export difficulties.

Agricultural products remain stagnant at Lang Son’s border crossings

According to Lang Son People’s Committee Chairman Vi Van Thanh, agricultural products including watermelons, dragon fruit, mangoes and rambutans carried from the south through the Tan Thanh Border Crossing have continually increased since March 16. Watermelons were the best export item, but only about 260-340 out of 500-550 trucks of watermelons received clearance notices per day, causing traffic jams at the gate. Watermelon trucks were lined along Pac Luong junction to Pa Phieng on Highway 4 and from Doc Quit to Tam Lung on Highway 1A. Watermelon exports earned nearly US$24 million.

According to Head of Tan Thanh Customs Office Phung Quang Hoi, a bumper watermelon harvest led to increased exports, which the customs authorities were unprepared to deal with. Chinese customs at the Po Chai Border Crossing have applied strict inspection and quarantine measures on imported watermelons which means each truck took 4-6 hours to process. Negotiations over the price of watermelons also delayed deliveries.

The Lang Son Province People’s Committee established an inter-agency working group in charge of managing import and export of agricultural products on February 12, 2015. The committee included the Dong Dang Economic Zone Management Board, departments of industry and trade, transportation, customs and health, and related local authorities. The group has been made responsible for traffic, security and order at border gate areas from 7am to 8pm.

In addition, the Dong Dang Economic Zone Management Board will closely monitor import and export of agricultural products and to report to the inter-agency working group for directions.

Despite efforts to negotiate with Chinese customs officials since January 25, traffic jams have continued at Lang Son’s border gates.

Overall solution needed

Lang Son People’s Committee Chairman Vi Van Thanh recommended that the MoIT should ask provinces involving in agricultural exports to China to apply post-harvest technologies and regulate Chinese-export activities in order to increase their agricultural export value while avoiding traffic jams at border gates. “Associations, industries and businesses need to strictly enforce sales contracts and pay special attention to the provisions of quality, type, packaging and delivery time,” he said.

In the long term, the MoIT should petition the government to provide funding to Lang Son to upgrade infrastructure in border gate economic zones, especially in its construction of trans-shipment and export processing zones, so that it can stay proactive in preserving and regulating agricultural exports.

“The government should approve the construction of the Dong Dang - Pingxiang Cross-border Economic Cooperation Zone and consider funding for the renovation and upgrading of the Hanoi-Lang Son road to facilitate trade in the future,” Vi Van Thanh suggested.

Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang recognized and appreciated the efforts of Lang Son Province, especially functional forces directly involving in the clearance of agricultural exports and other commodities at provincial border gates. He also predicted that traffic jams would happen more often at these border gates as fruit harvests were due and suggested that Lang Son should continue to implement proposed plans to promote exports through its border gates and recommend related localities and businesses to regulate their export activities.

“The MoIT will continue to work with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to have immediate measures and long-term plans for farming, harvesting, post-harvest storage and distribution of agricultural products for export. The MoIT will submit transshipment and export processing zone projects to the government for approval and focus all possible financial resources on these projects,” said Vu Huy Hoang./.

Hoang Chau