Lao Bao International Border Gate in Quang Tri province (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Trade via border gates is expected to reach 30 billion USD in 2016, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Cam Tu said at a Hanoi conference on January 5.

Cross-border trade is growing strong taking advantage of the 4,510km of land border Vietnam shares with China, Laos and Cambodia which runs through 25 provinces of Vietnam, two of China, 10 of Laos and nine of Cambodia with dozens of border gate pairs and economic zones, said Hoang Minh Tuan – Director of the Mountainous and Frontier Trade Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

Vietnam also issued policies designed to facilitate trade exchanges between border provinces and neighbouring localities.

The enforcement of free trade agreement, a complete system of legal regulations and policies on cross-border trade, and increased cooperation with the neighbours to fine-tune customs procedures have also boosted cross-border trade activities, Tuan noted.

The MoIT reported that goods traded through border gates were valued at 27.56 billion USD in 2015, a year-on-year rise of 27 percent.

The trade revenue across the Vietnam-China border accounted for 85 percent of the total figure, the revenue across the Vietnam-Laos and Vietnam-Cambodia borders represented some 4 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

At the conference, participants pointed out certain shortcomings that have hindered Vietnam’s cross-border trade.

A representative of Lang Son province, which is contiguous to China, highlighted poor infrastructure like trade centres, supermarkets and markets in border provinces, in comparison with developed facilities in the Chinese side.

The development gap between the two countries’ localities is also a hindrance to equally beneficiary cooperation. Additionally, Vietnam’s import-export activities’ dependence on China’s market and policies is another problem.

Deputy Minister Tu underlined the need to push negotiation with neighbouring countries on cross-border trade agreements. A cross-border business association should also be set up to ensure Vietnamese merchants’ benefits while doing business with the three countries.

Vietnam must also continue strongly reforming its State management of cross-border trade activities to optimise advantages and minimise negative impacts of trade relations with the bordering nations, he added.-VNA