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Vietnamese exports stuck at border as China mobilizes customs force for COVID-19 prevention

Vietnamese exports stuck at border as China mobilizes customs force for COVID-19 prevention

Wednesday, December 15, 2021, 14:24 GMT+7
Vietnamese exports stuck at border as China mobilizes customs force for COVID-19 prevention
This image shows numerous goods container trucks waiting for customs clearance at Mong Cai International Border Gate in Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam. Photo: Thu Hang / Tuoi Tre

More than 1,000 shipping containers of Vietnamese exports to China have been stuck in the northern border province of Quang Ninh due to the falling handling capacity of Chinese customs, since part of the force has been mobilized for COVID-19 control amid waves of overseas Chinese returning home to celebrate the coming Lunar New Year holiday.

The Chinese customs force is running thin, failing to meet the requirements of inspection of goods delivered from Vietnam to China via Mong Cai International Border Gate in Mong Cai City under Quang Ninh Province, Luong Quang So, head of the border gate management board, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Tuesday.

Part of the local customs force has been mobilized to join epidemic prevention and control activities that have been strengthened in the face of increased numbers of overseas Chinese returning home for the Lunar New Year festival spanning late January and early February, So said.

Customs clearance formalities by Chinese customs have slowed down recently, leading to more than 1,000 container trucks carrying Vietnamese exports having to wait at the border gate.

The Chinese side stated that a lot of Vietnamese vegetables and fruits remained waiting for inspection by Chinese customs, so they could not receive more containers, So explained.

Among the stuck cargoes are more than 400 containers of agricultural products and fruits, and over 700 containers of frozen seafood, So said.

Trucks from southern provinces and some neighboring localities such as Bac Giang, Lang Son, and Lao Cai have continued to flock to Mong Cai, worsening the congestion, while the handling capacity of the gate is just 400 containers per day.

The speed of goods transport from Mong Cai to China has been dependent on the Chinese side, So said. 

As each truck may wait for several days to complete customs clearance procedures, Mong Cai City authorities have asked businesses to lease out spaces for container trucks or warehouses for goods at low charges, aiming at supporting their owners during the waiting time.

Companies in Mong Cai have agreed to reduce the detention charge to VND100,000 (US$4.3) per container per day, which is much lower than that in other provinces.

The Quang Ninh Province administration has made phone talks with relevant Chinese authorities to ask them to facilitate the transport of Vietnamese shipments to China from such gates as Mong Cai, Bac Phong Sinh in Hai Ha District, and Hoanh Mo in Binh Lieu District.

Trade between Vietnam and China through the border gate was estimated at $3.5 billion in January-November, up 41 percent against 2020, according to the Mong Cai City People’s Committee.

After the U.S., China has become Vietnam's second-largest export market for agricultural, forestry, and fishery products, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development reported. 

In January-November, the export revenue earned by Vietnamese exporters from the Chinese market for such commodities reached $8.4 billion, accounting for 19.2 percent of Vietnam’s total agricultural export value, according to the ministry. 

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Vinh Tho / Tuoi Tre News

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