State ramps up Mideast fruit exports

State ramps up Mideast fruit exports

The government looks set to ramp up fruit exports to the Middle East this year and is speeding up talks with its Chinese counterpart to help facilitate fruit exports after China's zero-Covid policy has taken a heavy toll on Thai fruit exports, especially durian.

According to Rachada Dhnadirek, a deputy government spokeswoman, the government through the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry is aiming this year to expand fruit shipments to Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates where there is high demand for Thai fruits such as rambutan, mangosteen, longan, mango and durian.

She said Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chalermchai Sri-on last week negotiated with the UAE to increase the export of farm products and food, aiming to raise about 10 billion baht in value this year, up 4.6% from last year.

Other policies include distribution support, quality control and improvement and consumption promotion, processing support and relief measures.

The government is also speeding up talks with China to facilitate fruit exports after they were hit by China's zero-Covid-19 policy and strict inspection measures at four key border checkpoints: Mohan, Youyi Guan, Dongxing and the Ping Xiang border gate.

Currently, Chinese authorities are strictly checking all fruit containers entering the country at the four border checkpoints in line with its zero-Covid policy. The checking process delays the shipments and sometimes results in some fruit going rotten.

The Thai government is calling on China to give privileges to durian exporters with GMP-Plus and Covid-free certificates. She said so far only 400 durian exporters have received training and earned the GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices)-Plus and Covid-free certificates.

Thailand has also proposed a joint meeting be held between Thailand, China, Laos and Vietnam to settle on a common protocol to speed up fruit exports and imports and a green lane at each border checkpoint be given especially to Thai fruits to speed up clearance to avoid any damage.

In a separate development, the Commerce Ministry reported on Monday Thailand's transit trade to China shrank by 24.34% in January to 16.98 billion baht, mainly because of China's zero Covid measure.

Of the total, exports from Thailand tallied 7.93 billion baht, down 6.37% from the same month of last year, and imports fell 35.24% to 9.05 billion baht.

A sharp fall in transit trade to China dragged down the total transit trade in January by 10.46% year-on-year to 50.69 billion baht.

Transit trade involves the passage of goods through more than one country.

Nevertheless, overall cross-border trade including transit trade managed to increase by 9.49% year-on-year in January to 141.07 billion baht, with exports accounting for 77.69 billion baht, up 4.53% and imports tallying 63.37 billion baht, up 16.25%.

Border trade alone rose 25.13% in January to 90.38 billion baht, with exports reaching 54.46 billion baht, up 22.76% and imports worth 35.91 billion baht, up 28.92%.

Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said he has ordered the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry and Commerce Ministry to seek cooperation with the Foreign Affairs Ministry to tackle obstacles to fruit exports.

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