17:14 | 30/08/2015 Trade
Vietnam’s trade surplus with European Union (EU) countries expanded by a whopping 30% year-on-year in the six months leading up to July, according to trade figures released by Vietnam Customs.
Vietnam’s exports to EU member nations tallied in at US$16.53 billion with imports registering US$5.30 billion resulting in a record high trade surplus for the six months January-July of US$11.23 billion.
Especially in light of the recently signed framework agreement between Vietnam and EU member nations to create a free trade zone under which almost all customs barriers will be eliminated.
The deal, which is expected to come into force in late 2017 or early 2018, will once fully implemented remove nearly all tariffs on commercial goods and services trade between the two regions over a seven to 10 year period.
Some leading government economists have suggested that exports as a whole could expand by as much as 4-5%, which could add billions of US dollars to economic growth, further strengthening the running trade surplus Vietnam has had with the EU for the past 10 years.
The EU nations collectively represent Vietnam’s second-largest trade partner and a further lowering of tariffs and other trade barriers should help the nation’s businesses be more competitive and profitable in the EU market.
Deputy Head Ha Duy Tung of the International Cooperation Department (ICD) under the Ministry of Finance (MoF) stressed the deal is an important steppingstone towards the nation’s ultimate goal of achieving economic prosperity and improving the living standards of its citizens through higher levels of trade with foreign partners.
Most importantly, business leaders can and must play a far more proactive role in becoming more competitive in the EU marketplace over the next couple of years to take full advantage of the Vietnam-EU free trade zone.
Department Head Vu Nhu Thang of the ICD, in turn said a recent survey conducted by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) showed businesses are not preparing adequately to compete in foreign markets.
To counteract the situation the ICD has been working with the VCCI and various other business associations to organize training courses to get business owners and their staff up to speed./.