HÀ NỘi — Border gates in the northern provinces of Quảng Ninh and Lạng Sơn have started or planned to reopen to resume trade with China, after days of interruption due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Bắc Luân II Bridge, connecting Quảng Ninh Province’s Móng Cái City and China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, reopened on Friday morning, following negotiations between Móng Cái and Guangxi’s Dongxing City.
Due to worries over the risks of the coronavirus, border gates in the northern region were basically shut down earlier this month, causing a backlog of Vietnamese products at the border with China, one of the country's main markets. Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc later issued a directive asking for uninterrupted import and export activities via the two countries' border while ensuring health protocols to prevent the spread of the virus.
Móng Cái and Dongxing cities agreed that initially, clearance priority will be given to materials and products destined for the Texhong Textile Group in Móng Cái border gate economic zone as well as other medical equipment meant for the prevention of the virus.
Starting this Saturday, clearance procedures will start to be done for other products and materials.
The two sides also agreed that all trucks from China will be sterilised before being allowed into Việt Nam. Drivers and porters will also have their health checked and be required to wear face masks.
Regarding vehicles from Việt Nam, after receiving the clearance, the drivers will hand over the vehicles to personnel from Móng Cái border gate’s management board to bring the goods to China. Other health and quarantine protocols will still apply.
Phùng Đức Tiến, deputy agriculture minister, said that about 360 trucks – mostly carrying dragon fruits and watermelons from the central and southern region, that are currently stuck in the northern border province of Lạng Sơn – have been processed and will be given clearance once the Tân Thanh border gate in Lạng Sơn Province opens on February 10.
He also said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Industry and Trade have come to an agreement that there should be no more trucks carrying Vietnamese produce sent to the northern border, and the produce will either be further processed or consumed domestically.
The agriculture ministry has told traders to stop bringing trucks to the border because staff on China's side are already stretched too thin and clearance procedures might take a long time given the need to follow quarantine protocols.
Earlier, on Wednesday, Hữu Nghị (Friendship) international border gate in Lạng Sơn has started resuming operations to facilitate the transport of fruit products lying in wait through the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday. — VNS