Major exports surge in first half

09:52 | 13/07/2018 Trade

(VEN) - The value of Vietnam’s exports grew significantly in the first half of 2018 despite adverse conditions, contributing significantly to the country’s economic growth.

major exports surge in first half
Export of seafood with known origin needs to be promoted

Trade barriers

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said produce, forest product and seafood exports hit an estimated US$3.45 billion in June, taking the total to US$19.4 billion in the first half of 2018, up 12 percent from the same period of last year. This, despite new trade barriers by importer countries.

China has tightened control over agro-forestry-fishery imports. In addition, the European Union gave Vietnam a yellow card warning last October over unreported and unregulated fishing.

Rice exports increased sharply to reach an estimated 604,000 tonnes worth US$317 million in June 2018 and 3.56 million tonnes worth US$1.81 billion in the first half of this year, up 25 percent in volume and 42 percent in value from the same period of 2017. In June, the price of rice exports of major countries decreased. But, the price of Vietnamese white rice with a five-percent rate of broken grains reached US$450/tonne, higher than that of product of the same kind from India and Thailand. This is particularly meaningful in the context of China, the largest importer of Vietnamese rice, which is constantly decreasing the number of Vietnamese enterprises licensed to sell rice and has limited them to 20.

The rice export structure has changed with increases in fragrant and high-quality rice and decreases in middle-grade rice such as rice with a five-percent rate of broken grains. Jasmine fragrant rice exports reached 129.2 million tonnes in May 2018, accounting for 33 percent of the country’s total, and up 53.8 and 103 percent from April and January 2018, respectively.

Seafood exports also experienced a breakthrough, yielding an estimated US$732 million in June 2018 and US$3.94 billion in the first half of this year, 10.5 percent more than the same period of 2017.

Although there were signs of a slowdown after the export peak reached in March by Samsung, phone and phone component exports were still the biggest exports, yielding an estimated US$3.2 billion in June and US$22.5 billion in the first half of this year, an increase of 15.4 percent over the same period last year. In recent months, Vietnam has exported telephones and phone components to 30 countries and territories worldwide. The number of countries importing more than US$1 billion worth of phone and phone components from Vietnam has increased from three - the US, the Republic of Korea (RoK) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) - in the first five months of 2017 to five - the US, the RoK, UAE, China and Austria. The five importers account for 55.2 percent of Vietnam’s phone and phone component export value.

Wood and wood product exports reached an estimated US$750 million in June and US$4.13 billion in the first half of this year, up three and 12.4 percent from May 2018 and the first half of 2017, respectively.

Annual export target feasible

In all, Vietnam exported goods worth US$113.93 billion in the first half of this year, up 16 percent from the same period last year. This growth, in addition to market and price advantages resulting from positive global economic growth in 2018, is expected to enable Vietnam to reach its 10-percent-plus export growth target for 2018.

The improved domestic business investment environment, startup businesses encouraged with new policies, and increased registered foreign direct investment (FDI) capital have all boosted production and increased sources of commodities for export.

Under a directive issued in April by Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh, a wide range of administrative procedures and investment conditions are being simplified in 10 areas, including energy, electricity, competition management, measurement and standards control, trade promotion, food safety, and imports and exports, among other fields. Vietnam’s key exports including textiles and garments, leather and footwear, machinery and equipment, wooden furniture, agricultural products and seafood continue to benefit greatly from free trade agreements (FTAs) that Vietnam has signed. Textile-garment and leather-footwear enterprises have received orders for export production for the first three quarters or the whole year of 2018.

In addition to continuing administrative reform and business environment improvement, Vietnam aspires to further improve the quality and competitiveness of its major exports including rice, seafood, textiles and garments. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said that in 2018, Vietnam has set a target of exporting about 6.5 million tonnes of rice, mostly high-quality rice, while intensively investing in seafood processing, branding and origin legality.

Lan Phuong