A delegation of firms from Singapore was expected to visit Vietnam at the end of this month to seek fruit and vegetable suppliers, as imports from China were declining due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Department of Asian – African Markets under the Ministry of Industry and Trade said this hopefully would be a solution to tackle difficulties caused by the epidemic to Vietnam’s exports of agro-forestry-fishery products.


The epidemic, which was hitting a number of sectors of Singapore, forced the country to look for new markets, especially in neighbours like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, to cope with interruptions in trade with China.


Singapore was mostly reliant on imports of agricultural products to meet domestic demand.

This was also a significant opportunity for Vietnam to expand exports of fruits and vegetables to Singapore, diversify export markets and reduce reliance on China, the department said.


On February 18, Singapore announced a financial package worth US$4.6 billion to cope with the epidemic, which would focus on providing support to companies operating in sectors suffering the most from the epidemic, including aviation, tourism and retail and low-income households.


According to the ministry, Vietnam’s exports of fruit and vegetable products decreased considerably, partly due to the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic.


Customs statistics showed that fruit and vegetable exports in January totalled $280 million, representing a fall of 20.6 per cent over the same month last year.


Although mainland China was the largest import market of Vietnamese fruit and vegetable products, accounting for 64.8 per cent of Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable export value last year, exports to this market in January saw a drop of 32.4 per cent to $173.5 million.


In January, fruit and vegetable exports to Thailand, Laos, Taiwan and Russia increased at 162 per cent, 42 per cent and 123 per cent, respectively.


Visit to the US 


A delegation of 19 firms lead by Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh on Monday started a visit to the US to seek opportunities to increase the agricultural trade between the two countries.


The six-day visit would focus on seeking opportunities to accelerate cooperation in the transfer of advanced technology in agricultural production and processing to develop domestic value chains and create favourable conditions for boosting trade of farming products between the two countries.


The two-way trade of agricultural products reached $14.4 billion in 2019.