March 2, 2021 | 21:44 GMT +7

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Saturday- 02:01, 06/02/2021

Vienam gains trade surplus with Thailand for the first time

Vietnam has transformed from a trade deficit to a trade surplus with Thailand due to a surge in fruit and vegetable export to the country.
Coconut is one of the products that export the most to Thailand over the past years. Photo: VAN.

Coconut is one of the products that export the most to Thailand over the past years. Photo: VAN.

Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports to Thailand reached US$157 million in 2020, a year-on-year rise of 209.7 percent, according to the General Department of Customs.

Thailand has become the third largest export market for Vietnam after China and the US regarding fruit and vegetables.

In the meantime, the amount of fruits and vegetables the country imports from Thailand reduced sharply over the past year.

In 2019, Vietnam spent US$487 million to import Thai vegetables and fruits but it was down to $78 million last year or 84 percent year-on-year decrease. As a result, Thailand has dropped from the No 1 to No 3 position in supplying vegetables and fruits to Vietnam.

This is the first time that the export of vegetables and fruits from Vietnam to Thailand has surpassed the imported value of these products from the country.

For years, Vietnam has always run a trade deficit with Thailand.

In 2017, the country exported US$36 million worth of vegetables and fruits to Thailand while importing $857 million. It meant that Vietnam posted a trade deficit of $821 million with Thailand.

In 2018 and 2019, although the value of vegetables and fruits imported from Thailand continued to decrease while exports of vegetables and fruits to Thailand increased, Vietnam still had a trade deficit of hundreds millions of US dollars with Thailand in terms of vegetables and fruit.

In fact, the import of fruits and vegetables from Thailand to Vietnam have tended to decrease while the export from Vietnam to Thailand increased over the past few years.

After peaking at US$857 million in 2017, the amount of vegetables and fruits imported from Thailand have fallen by nearly 21 percent to $681 million in 2018. Then it continued to decrease by 29 per cent to $487 million in 2019.

As mentioned earlier, the value of vegetables and fruits imported from Thailand dropped sharply by 84 percent to $78 million last year. This is a big surprise.

Meanwhile, Vietnam's fruit and vegetable exports to Thailand have continuously increased since 2017.

In 2018, exports of fruits and vegetables to Thailand reached $45 million, up 25 percent compared to 2017’ figure.

In 2019, it was up to $75 million, an increase by 66.24 percent compared to that of 2018.

Last year saw a strong increase in export value of fruit and vegetables to Thailand with 209.7 percent year-on-year rise compared to the 2019.

According to experts in the fruit and vegetable industry, despite being the leading exporter of vegetables and fruits in the region, Thailand is quite similar to Vietnam in terms of key fruit and vegetable products. However, Vietnamese fruits and vegetables still have a chance to enter this potential market.

Thailand is a country with a developed food processing industry in general, vegetables in particular, so the country has a great demand for a variety of raw vegetables and fruits and the import of these products from abroad will be on the rise.

Last year, Vietnam's coconut exports to Thailand increased strongly, mainly to serve the needs of processing coconut products in this country.

According to the International Trade Center (ITC), in the first 7 months of 2020, Vietnam's coconut exports to Thailand reached 129,000 tons, worth $50.4 million, up to 377.7 percent in volume and 781, 3 percent in value over the same period in 2019.

The fact that a number of Thai supermarkets in Vietnam promote the purchase of Vietnamese vegetables, fruits and other agricultural products for export into the same system in Thailand, has significantly contributed to increase the export value of vegetables and fruits to the country.

The main reason is that Vietnamese fruit and vegetables have won Thai consumers’ favour, including those that are popular in Thailand.

For example, Thailand is famous for durian, but many Thais preferred durians which are grown in Vietnam because it tastes better than those cultivated in their country.

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