Hundreds of flat-bed and container trucks queued along a border bridge in Dongxing, a city in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, waiting for customs clearance, a scene that signifies the recovery of trade on the China-Vietnam border from the COVID-19 epidemic.
“During the COVID-19 outbreak, many Vietnamese farmers and drivers became very anxious after customs clearance was suspended in both countries,” said Pham Van Tan, a 31-year-old Vietnamese truck driver.
Vietnam stopped issuing visas for Chinese tourists in early February and partially closed the Sino-Vietnam border to prevent the spread of the virus.
“The epidemic has affected us seriously,” another Vietnamese driver said. “Vietnam has taken a lot of strict prevention and control measures. Many of our trucks lined up. The agricultural products planned to be exported to China became unsalable.”
During the outbreak, Guangxi local authorities held several rounds of negotiations with four neighbouring provinces in northern Vietnam, enabling the application of more convenient clearance procedures in both countries, said Jiang Liansheng, director of the department of commerce in Guangxi.
To enhance facilitation of Vietnamese products entering the Chinese market, Dongxing Customs continued to refurbish border-check infrastructure. A set of high-tech checking facilities have recently been put into use, reducing the screening time to 30 minutes per vehicle, said Lei Keqiang of Dongxing Customs.
“The newly built cross-border bridge, called Beilun II, resumed freight clearance service after the prolonged Chinese Spring Festival holiday,” said Chen Xiao, director of Dongxing Port Service Centre.
By March 10, the daily average number of import and export vehicles has exceeded that of last year, said Chen.
Customs clearance mostly back to normal
At Pingxiang, China’s largest land border port for fruit import and export, all customs officials were seen wearing face masks and some Vietnamese truck drivers wore protective gear when crossing the border, just as in Dongxing.
“The situation is getting better and better now as customs clearance carries on as normal,” said Liu Lishu, manager of a local Chinese electronics company.
“More than 70 percent of our products are exported to ASEAN countries through Vietnam. Production had been reduced in the first two months due to the outbreak, but we are ramping up to get it back in March,” Liu said.
ASEAN has become China’s biggest trade partner in the first two months, with the combined trade volume rising 2 percent to 594.1 billion yuan (about 85.68 billion U.S. dollars), official data showed.
China has been Vietnam’s largest trading partner for many years while Vietnam is China’s largest trading partner in ASEAN. Two-way trade has exceeded 100 billion U.S. dollars for two consecutive years.
Source: Xinhua Net