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Farm produce languishes at China border   2010-02-01 - VietNamNet/TT

Hundreds of trucks carrying farm produce to China have been halted at the Tan Thanh border gate over the last several days, according to a Tuoi Tre report from January 30.


Tuoi Tre reporters witnessed a long three kilometer queue of vehicles transporting fruit to China on the afternoon of January 29. It was a suffocating line because of vehicles’ smoke and noise from the cold storage systems. Some owners complained that the vehicles had been waiting there for four days.


Most of the vehicles carried dragon fruits, melon and bananas, which could quickly spoil and affect owner’s profits.


Thu, who brought melons up from the Mekong Delta, remarked: “We are losing big money for every day we are kept here. We have to pay additional fees for the vehicles and meals and we may have to throw the fruits away because it is getting hotter.”


According to Nguyen Huu Vuong, Head of the Tan Thanh Border Customs Sub-agency, it is now the harvest season for dragon fruits and melon in the central southern region. Vietnamese enterprises have been trying to promote sales to China in order to earn more money as China prepares to celebrate Tet.


Too many vehicles are flocking to the border gate, as China is importing goods at limited levels, resulting in the jam.


According to Vuong, many goods owners do not follow regulations by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on compulsory certificates proving the origin of the goods.


Meanwhile, owners argue that the certificates are useful only for exporting through official channels and that no paperwork is required for cross-border exports. In fact, Chinese merchants have forced prices of many goods down because they have no certification.


Nguyen Xuan Tien, Director of Tam Thanh Investment and Trade Development, which is in charge of guiding vehicles to the goods examination area at the border, observed that the examination area can contain only 100 vehicles, while the actual number of vehicles is much higher.


Tien said that after every vehicle goes through the gate, two or three more appear, which has caused prolonged blockades.


Phung Huu Hao, a senior official from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, affirmed that the jam at Tan Thanh border gate has been caused by owners ignoring regulations on their goods origins.


“There have been too much goods, while the border roads and facilities do not allow quick treatment, which has resulted in a jam,” he explained.


In the latest news, Lang Son Deputy Chair Duong Thoi Giang has revealed that local authorities worked with Chinese colleagues on measures to speed up customs clearance. Chinese officials have agreed to work 60 minutes more a day to help more vehicles clear border inspections.


Each day, Chinese officials can inspect and allow 120-150 vehicles to pass through the border gate.

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