Rice processing for export (Illustrative image. Source: VNA)
Can Tho (VNA) – Total import-export revenue of the Mekong Delta region reached 10 billion USD in the first six months of 2017, a year-on-year rise of 11.2 percent, with 6.75 billion USD of exports, or a trade surplus of nearly 3.5 billion USD.

According to the Steering Committee for the Southwest Region, the region’s major currency earners included rice, vegetables and aquatic products.

The region’s leading export markets were China, Japan, the US and the Republic of Korea.

In the first half of 2017, regional localities imported 3.18 billion USD worth of goods, an increase of 11 percent over the same period last year, mostly buying fertiliser, pesticides, equipment and machinery.

The Mekong Delta region and Vietnam in general enjoyed a surge of 40 percent in exports of vegetable and fruits, along with a of 14 percent in aquatic products.

However, both export volume and value of rice were equal to the same period last year, with the top market China consuming 50 percent of total exported rice.

Experts said that the region faces fierce competition from regional countries in agriculture and tough technical barriers, resulting in modest export value. Meanwhile, vegetable and fruit exports failed to create a breakthrough due to their low value.

They also suggested that regional localities work to attract more foreign direct investment (FDI) firms, especially large firms with high technology, thus creating high value export goods.

Currently, FDI attraction in the region is the lowest in the country. In the first reviewed months, regional localities lured 66 FDI projects worth 1.7 billion USD, while the country’s total was 1,183 projects with 11.8 billion USD.

Along with updating technology to raise value and competitiveness of exported goods, the localities were advised to focus on developing the local business community and encouraging start-ups.

So far this year, the region saw 4,275 newly-established enterprises with total investment of 30.81 trillion VND (1.35 billion USD), up 10.2 percent in the number of firms but down 22.7 percent in capital.-VNA