Vietnam’s agricultural exports to China, including fruits, rice, cashew, and coffee, in the first nine months of this year were worth a record US$6.2 billion.
Durian exports alone were worth a whopping $1.5 billion, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The other major exports included $500 million worth of rice, $434 million worth of cashew and $101 million worth of coffee.
If forestry and aquatic products were included, the exports went up to $8.71 billion, a 16.7% rise.
Overall, the country’s exports were worth $38.48 billion, down 5.1%, with China, the U.S. and Japan being the three biggest markets.
Dang Phuc Nguyen, general secretary of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association, said the record agricultural exports to China were due to the recent signing of export protocols by the two countries under which certain fruits like durian and vegetables could be exported through official quotas rather than just border trade as was hitherto done.
Nguyen Dinh Tung, CEO of Vina T&TT Export Import Service Trading Company, said Vietnamese durian exports to China could reach $2 billion this year.
The ministry predicted exports of agricultural products, especially fruits, would set more new records in the fourth quarter when people consume more during the holidays.
In the near future, Vietnam will export fresh coconut to China under official quotas.
But Tung said some Vietnamese items such as dragon fruit, grapefruit and longan would have to compete fiercely with similar fruits grown in China and imported from various other countries.