Illustrative Image (Source: VNA)

 

HCM City (VNA) – Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh at a conference held on July 19 in HCM City called for more concerted efforts from the Government, localities and businesses to reach the target of 10 percent export growth this year. 

To improve productivity, the ministry would encourage the use of high technology and innovative management practices, while focusing on institutional reforms and new governmental policies, Anh said.

With a number of free trade agreements (FTAs) expected to take effect this year, he said the Government would disseminate market information to help businesses learn more about the opportunities and challenges offered by FTAs. 

Although exports reached 82.13 billion USD in the first half of the year, up 5.7 percent against the period last year, the increase was lower than in the same period last year compared to 2014. 

Duong Phuong Thao, Deputy Head of the Ministry’s Import Export Department, attributed the situation to a decline in export prices, including prices of crude oil and industrial processing products. 

In the first half of the year, global oil prices continued to drop, affecting activities in oil and gas exploitation, mining and exports. Revenue from crude oil over the past six months reached only 1.1 billion USD, a year-on-year fall of 46.6 percent.

Thao said the global economy was still facing difficulties as demand and export prices continued to fall. 

In addition, trade volume from key importers of Vietnamese products has showed signs of a decline or slow increase. The markets include Japan (down 11.3 percent in exports and 13.8 percent in imports) and the Eurozone (a decrease of 1 percent in exports and 3 percent in imports), according to Thao.

Besides the drop in trade volume, Vietnamese exporters are expected to face more trade barriers as many import taxes will be eliminated under existing and upcoming FTAs. 

Anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases have also been on the rise, affecting Vietnamese exporters and preventing them from taking advantage of trade agreements. 

Other challenges are outdated production technology, limited management capacity, and weak competitiveness. In addition, many small- and medium-sized businesses find it difficult to access capital. 

Unpredictable exchange rates, interest rates and prices of fuel and materials for manufacturing on the global market affected many Vietnamese exports. 

The severe drought in the country, the worst in 90 years, and saltwater intrusion also had a severe impact on agricultural exports. Rice exports brought only 1.3 billion USD in the past six months, a year-on-year decrease of 2.7 percent. 

However, exports of agro-forestry and fishery products in the country reached 13.63 billion USD in the first half of the year, up 4.1 percent over the same period last year. 

In addition to improving quality and competitiveness of products, both the State and enterprises were encouraged to expand promotions by participants attending the conference. 

Trade promotions should be better organised, focusing on goods that are in high demand and on countries that have FTAs with Vietnam, particularly the US, Japan and the EU.

They also encouraged a more active role for Vietnamese agencies abroad in helping businesses expand their markets and sharing information about host countries.-VNA