Products are packaged after being processed. Vietnam is working to realise its export turnover target of 188 billion USD in 2017. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The industry and trade sector expects to make a beeline for realising its export turnover target of 188 billion USD in 2017, or 6.9 percent higher than last year.

A core solution to that is enhancing export enterprises’ competiveness through renovating technology and management, experts said, stressing that local businesses have expanded their production scale, but not the added value of their products.

The signing of free trade agreements (FTAs) is significant to making Vietnamese products more competitive, but long-term strategies for trade brand, product quality and market development are needed.

According to Tran Thanh Hai, Deputy General Director of the Foreign Trade Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), a line-up of businesses have yet to get updated with tariff commitments under the inked FTAs with Vietnam’s partners like Australia, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

Risks would likely come due to their failure to thoroughly grasp the FTAs’ contents of technical barriers and animal and plant quarantine measures, as well as the principle of origin, tariff reduction levels before making production and business plans, he noted.

As part of the effort to help local enterprises take full advantages of the FTAs, the MoIT has implemented a project to enhance the management of Certificate of Origin (C/O) to simplify administrative procedures, shorten time of C/O granting as well as complete electronic C/O granting.

Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh said the ministry will inspect all export projects to address difficulties while joining hands with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to shake up the agricultural sector towards improving added value of export products and branching out goods with high quality to meet demand of export markets.

In addition, the ministry will ask Vietnamese trade offices in foreign countries to study challenges that hamper Vietnam’s exports, choose specific staples for shipments as well as expand market share in traditional markets and markets of partners involved in FTAs.

The ministry will join in national single door mechanism and pilot the ASEAN self-certification of origin project, the Minister said.

Statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs showed that Vietnam pocketed 97.8 billion USD from exports in the first half of the years, a year on-year rise of 18.9 percent. It included 27 billion USD from the domestic sector, up 13.8 percent, 70.8 billion USD from the foreign-invested sector, up 21 percent.

Meanwhile, the country splashed out 100.5 billion USD on purchasing products from foreign countries in the period.

Director of the MoIT’s Department of Planning Duong Duy Hung said that exports of agricultural and aquatic products will reach its peak by yearend. Meanwhile, key exports like garments, footwear and wood products are having a good time.

Imports will taper off, spurred by price reduction of steel, fertiliser and petrol, Hung added.-VNA