Q1 foreign trade soars

09:02 | 30/04/2018 Trade

(VEN) - Total value of foreign trade reached an estimated US$107.32 billion in the first quarter of this year, a rise of 17.7 percent compared with the same period in 2017. 

q1 foreign trade soars
Favorable conditions exist for Vietnam to boost rice exports

US$1.3 billion trade surplus

In March, the export value reached an estimated US$19.8 billion, up 38.2 percent compared with February. In the first three months, the export value reached US$54.3 billion, 22 percent higher compared with the same period last year. Major contributions to this export growth came from key products, such as telephones and components, textiles and garments, computers, electronic products and components, iron and steel, and cameras.

According to Vietnam Steel Association Vice President Nguyen Van Sua, steel sales in the first quarter grew 16-18 percent compared with the same period last year, with export value reaching an estimated US$949 million, up 43.3 percent.

The import value reached US$19 billion in March, up 35.4 percent compared with February. In the first three months, the import value reached US$53 billion, a rise of 13.6 percent compared with the same period last year. Major imports included minerals, energy, materials for textile and garment production, fruit, vegetables and scraps. These import and export results generated a trade surplus of US$1.3 billion.

Encouraging signals

According to the Vietnam Food Association, Indonesia recently opened a tender for the procurement of 500,000 tonnes of rice, and Vietnam has become a successful bidder to sell 300,000 tonnes of 15 percent broken rice to Indonesia at good prices, with delivery from May to July. This is the third tender by Indonesia since the beginning of 2018 (this country imported no rice in 2016 and 2017). In January 2018, Vietnam also won a bid to sell 141,000 tonnes of rice to Indonesia.

In the past several years, Vietnamese farmers often faced stagnant watermelon sales to China via the Tan Thanh Border Crossing in Lang Son Province in late March and early April. This year, farmers are seeing bumper crops thanks to favorable weather conditions, but they are also worried that sales will lag again. However, Nguyen Thi Mai Linh, head of the Agricultural, Forest and Aquatic Product Import, Export Division of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Foreign Trade Agency, said the export of fruit and vegetables to China since the beginning of this year has been smooth, with prices growing 25-26 percent compared with the same period in 2017. The Foreign Trade Agency is coordinating with the Asian and African Markets Department to help businesses cope with Guangxi Province’s tighter controls over fruit and vegetable imports.

According to Nguyen Thi Mai Linh, the Foreign Trade Agency is accelerating negotiations to export pork via official trade channels. Quarantine regulations and quality controls remain a major hurdle. Moreover, since the beginning of this year, China has stopped buying live pigs from Vietnam due to a redundancy of pork following the restructuring of the Chinese animal husbandry sector. Improving quality is the only way to promote sustainable pork exports via official trade channels, he said.

Bao Ngoc