February 3, 2020 / 10:03 AM / 20 days ago

Vietnam says coronavirus epidemic to hurt farm produce exports

Tourists wear protective masks while visiting Hoan Kiem lake in Hanoi, Vietnam January 31, 2020. REUTERS/Kham

HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam’s government said on Monday the coronavirus epidemic will hurt its farm produce exports to China, the Southeast Asian country’s largest trading partner.

The government said last week that cross-border trade between Vietnam and China was “not encouraged” and on Sunday announced it would ban all flights to and from China over coronavirus concerns.

“Limited transport activities will hinder farm produce transactions between companies from the two countries,” the government said in a statement.

As of Sunday night, 175 trucks carrying 3,500 tonnes of dragon fruit were stuck at border gates in the northern province of Lang Son, the government said.

Exports of milk and seafood have also faced trouble as Chinese importers have postponed taking deliveries, the government added.

Vietnam confirmed an additional three cases of the new coronavirus, the health ministry said, bringing the country’s total to eight cases.

Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Alex Richardson

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