PM urges sustaining trade surplus despite export, import declines

06:00 | 23/07/2020 Trade

(VEN) - At a July 2 online conference between the Vietnamese government and localities, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked sectors and localities to sustain the import-export goal and aim at a trade surplus this year. The country’s trade surplus reached a four-year record of US$9.9 billion in 2019.

pm urges sustaining trade surplus despite export import declines

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam’s total import-export turnover declined by 2.1 percent to US$238.39 billion in the first half of the year compared to a year ago. Of which, export turnover recorded the first decline since the global economic and financial crisis in 2008, with a drop of 1.1 percent to US$121.21 billion.

Short-term export activities are forecast to ease but not eliminate all difficulties. However, there are positive signs of recovery. Vietnam’s effective Covid-19 control and the reopening of some American and European markets have boosted Vietnam’s import-export activities.

After plummeting to US$17.58 billion in April, Vietnam’s export turnover increased by 9.1 percent and 9.5 percent in May and June, respectively. In the last half of the year, Vietnam’s import-export turnover is expected to grow more positively as many countries around the world relax control measures and accelerate economic recovery.

In particular, the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which is set to take effect in August 2020, will offer Vietnam opportunities to boost exports. Tran Thanh Hai, deputy director of the Agency of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said the EVFTA is the second trade deal between the EU and an ASEAN country, after Singapore. The production structure of Singapore and Vietnam is different and in the long run, the trade deal will benefit Vietnam’s exports.

In addition to the EVFTA, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) also offers opportunities for Vietnam’s exports. In the first half of the year, Vietnam’s exports to CPTPP member countries recorded growth - 2.3 percent in Australia, 1.6 percent in Chile and 2.6 percent in Mexico. The opportunity to increase exports to CPTPP member countries continues to expand with Japan and Canada importing Vietnamese litchi and mango, respectively.

To support businesses in utilizing opportunities provided by free trade agreements, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has strengthened information dissemination to help businesses understand and meet the technical requirements of export markets and boosted trade promotion. In addition, the ministry has directed local foreign trade agencies to create favorable conditions for firms in export activities.

The effective Covid-19 control is opening up opportunities for Vietnam to receive more foreign investment due to production shifts from China.

Bao Ngoc