The overland trade between China and Vietnam saw a sharp decline in the first four months of the year, due to tightened Covid-19 safety measures and congested borders.
Vietnamese firms shipped just USD 509 million worth of goods to China through the border, an 87 per cent dive year-on-year, reported Vietnamese publication VNExpress citing the customs data.
The report said that the imports from China also dropped by 52.5 per cent to USD 3.64 billion.
Vietnam's Ministry of Industry and Trade said that China's zero-Covid strategy and tightened control of cross-border movement have largely impacted the trade between the two countries. The situation was worsened by the lack of transport, logistics and cross-border trade infrastructure, VNExpress reported.
Though trading through key border gates in the northern provinces of Lao Cai and Lang Son has resumed, the customs clearance has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.
In Lang Son province, customs clearance is carried out at four border gates: Huu Nghi, Dong Dang, Chi Ma, and Tan Thanh.
Tan Thanh border gate in Lang Son is Vietnam's main point for fruit export to China, but only 100 vehicles get customs clearance a day, a third of total vehicles compared to pre-pandemic level, VNExpress reported.
Amid this, if the required measures are not taken to control the delay in clearance, the border congestion could escalate further, said the Ministry.
Ever since the pandemic struck the country, the Chinese authorities have tightened COVID-19 safety measures. During the period, thousands of container trucks wait for hours at Vietnam's border gates with China in the northern province of Lang Son in order to get clearance, VNExpress reported.
China was Vietnam's largest partner last year, with bilateral trade reaching USD 166 billion.
Vietnam exported USD 56 billion worth of goods to China, its second-largest import market, last year.
Trading through the border accounted for USD 42 billion, 37 per cent of it being Vietnamese exports. Agricultural produce and electronics components are Vietnam's top export items to China. (ANI)