China has suspended imports of dragon fruit from Vietnam, stating it found traces of the coronavirus. This amounts to a temporary halt to a $1 billion market, as Beijing continues its vigorous testing of inbound food shipments for evidence of the pathogen.
According to Vietnam’s trade ministry, imports of the tropical fruit have been suspended for a week beginning Wednesday. Authorities in China’s Guangxi region, bordering Vietnam, informed the ministry of the halt, saying the coronavirus was found on packaging and cardboard boxes shipped from Quang Ninh province.
China is the top destination for Vietnamese dragon fruit -- representing over 80% of total shipments and amounting to $1 billion a year. Dragon fruits make up one third of Vietnam’s exports of vegetables and fruits, which was $3.27 billion last year.
The halt is the latest blow to Vietnam’s fruit trade with China, which was already seeing a decline in exports amid land transport congestion, tighter border controls and increased domestic plantings in China.