At the end of February, a delegation of firms from Singapore is expected to visit Vietnam in search of suppliers of fruits and vegetables as a countermeasure against the falling imports from China as a result of the Covid-19 virus outbreak.
According to the Department of Asian–African Markets under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, this trip will hopefully be a solution to overcome the difficulties brought by the outbreak to the exports of agro-forestry-fishery products on Vietnam.
The outbreak has impacted a few sectors in the Singapore economy and trade activities with China, which has now forced the country to explore new markets, particularly neighbouring countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.
To meet domestic demand, the country was mostly dependent on imports of agricultural goods.
The delegation trip will also afford a significant opportunity for Vietnam to export their fruits and vegetables to new markets such as Singapore, which will in turn reduce dependency on China and diversify export markets, the department opined.
On Tuesday (18 Feb), a stimulus package worth S$6.4 billion was announced by Singapore to combat the impact of the outbreak, with a focus on helping firms in the sectors impacted the most such as tourism, aviation, retail, and low-income households.
Vietnam’s exports of fruits and vegetable products fell substantially, and part of the reason is the impact from Covid-19 outbreak, the ministry stated. According to customs statistics, exports of fruits and vegetables in January was US$280 million, which is equivalent to a decline of 20.6 per cent over the same month in 2019.
Vietnam’s largest export market of fruits and vegetables in 2019 was Mainland China, which made up of 64.8 per cent of fruits and vegetables export value. In January, the export value declined by 32.4 per cent to US$173.5 million.
Last month, exports of fruits and vegetables to Thailand, Laos, Taiwan and Russia rose by 162 per cent, 42 per cent, and 123 per cent each respectively.