Vietnam has criticised China’s zero-Covid policies as over the top after tight border controls caused a backlog of thousands of trucks and disrupted trade.

“Pandemic prevention measures that Guangxi is applying under the ‘zero Covid’ policy, such as stopping border gate operations or stopping the import of some types of fruit, are overkill,” Vietnam’s trade ministry said after a video call with officials from the southwestern Chinese region on Friday.

China will roll out new measures to boost consumption and ensure supply chain security next year to counter growing headwinds facing the economy, the commerce minister has said.

“The growth potential and momentum in consumption have yet to be fully released, as sporadic outbreaks of Covid-19 continue to dampen consumption and people’s motivation to spend,” Wang Wentao said in an interview with state-backed Xinhua News Agency on Monday.

He said more effective policies will be introduced next year to stimulate consumer spending and consolidate recovery.

The government will help e-commerce and logistics services in rural areas, promote chain convenience stores and wet markets in neighbourhoods, revamp pedestrian streets, and expedite development of international consumer cities, Wang said.

China’s retail sales fell short of market expectations in November, rising 3.9 per cent from a year ago and down from the previous month, official data showed.

Beijing has warned of three main pressures facing the economy – a contraction of demand, supply shocks and weakening expectations – and pledged to stabilise trade and support small businesses.

China’s exports have been boosted by increasing demand from economies whose production was restrained by the coronavirus. Total imports and exports in the first 11 months of this year grew 22 per cent compared to a year earlier.