Russian traders fear Vietnam wheat export ban on contamination concerns

Russian wheat exports to Vietnam may face restrictions following a fresh outbreak of “creeping thistle” in recent arrivals of the grain, Agricensus has learned.

According to a letter from Vietnam’s Plant Protection Department, five cases of the weed have been found in cargoes that have already arrived from the world’s biggest wheat exporting nation and are concerned that five other cargoes previously bought may also be infected.

As a result, Vietnam officials have asked a delegation from Russia’s phytosanitary and veterinarian agency Rosselkhoznadzor to be present when the latter cargoes are unloaded in late October to “enhance mutual management of creeping thistle in wheat and facilitate trade between the two countries.”

The letter, dated October 9 and seen by Agricensus, also refers to the arrangement of a meeting to discuss “solutions to wheat consignments from Russia to Vietnam”.

It also highlights a meeting held in Moscow earlier this year which was intended to “strengthen the management of creeping thistle in wheat exported from Russia.”

The letter has rekindled fears among traders that Russia could be facing a ban on wheat imports into the southeast Asian nation, with Vietnam recently insisting that every US and Canadian DDGS containers undergo inspection upon arrival after similar insect-based infestation fears.

One market source said that 97 Canadian DDGS containers have had to be re-fumigated, amounting to 2,619 mt of product.

“I heard that starting from November, Vietnam will stop giving import permits for Russian wheat, meaning there will be no phytosanitary documents as well as without the import permit, phyto does not work,” a Russia-based trader said.

However, with Argentina’s wheat crop nearing harvest sources also expect the focus to switch away from Russian wheat imports, with the South American nation already looking like a good supply option given a heightened sensitivity to Russian wheat imports.

“October could be the last shipments as from November onward buyers have started to move to Argentina already… Price is just a part of it, another is risk, because it’s a tighter regime when you import Russian,” a Vietnam-based market source said.

Vietnam is also continuing to fight an outbreak of African swine fever that has decimated its pig herd and raised questions over its corn, feed wheat, meal and DDGS imports.

Agricensus contacted the PPD for comment, but had received no response by time of publication.