Exporters urged to prioritise containing COVID-19

The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Agency for Foreign Trade has urged firms that export goods to China to give the highest priority to preventing the COVID-19 pandemic from spreading further and ensuring the safety of their workers and the public.

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Long queues of container trucks loaded with exports to China at Kim Thanh Border Gate in Lao Cai. (Photo: VNA)

Exporters should not make light of preventive measures against the coronavirus because of the pressure to ease the backlog of goods at border crossings with China and boost imports, the agency said in a notice recently sent to local departments of industry and trade, business associations and exporters.

This will contribute to Vietnam’s concerted efforts to combat the COVID-19 outbreak, it added.

Border gates with China have reopened but import and export activities have not returned to normal due to delays in customs clearance and a severe lack of workers to help with cargo handling in both countries.

Additionally, China has tightened control of entry and exit of people and vehicles from Vietnam, particularly those from pandemic-hit areas. Most recently, the Chinese side banned drivers from Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Quang Ninh, Da Nang and Binh Thuan from delivering exports to China because of the complex development of the pandemic in these localities.

The northern provinces of Quang Ninh, Lang Son and Lao Cai which have a large volume of exports and imports going through daily have established “buffer” zones around the border gates for quarantine purposes.

As of March 30, 1,175 container trucks remained stuck across the northern border crossings, the majority of which – 1,086 trucks – were in Lang Son, mostly loaded with dragon fruit, watermelon, banana, mango and jack fruit.

The border gates are likely to see even worse congestion in the coming months when more fruits and agricultural products in Vietnam enter the harvest season, leading to growing demand for export to China.

VNA