Food scandals reduce Vietnam’s produce imports from China


With Chinese fruits and vegetables repeatedly grabbing global and local media attention over food safety and hygiene issues. Vietnam has imported less such produce this year than it did in 2012.


Agricultural produce wholesalers said import volumes of Chinese gingers, potatoes, carrots, garlic, apples, and grapes have all slumped following news of their containing pesticide residues or other toxic substances. Some of these produce have import volumes dropped as much as 70 percent compared to last year, they said.


Vietnam imported some US$76.02 million worth of fruits and vegetables from China in the year to July, according to the General Department of Customs. The figure recorded from Jan – July 2012 was $81.38 million.


However, Vietnam’s produce import turnovers in seven months remained high at $221.93 million, a 25.1 percent increase from the same period last year.


This is because local importers have shifted to safer sources, mostly Thailand.


The customs department said import volumes from Thailand in July alone topped $10.45 million, a record 130.17 percent rise from a year earlier. In the seven-month period, total agricultural produce import turnovers from Thailand rose 116.93 percent from last year to $64.95 million.


Produce with the highest import volumes include tamarind, grape, apple, white onion, garlic, and pea.