Workers at a garment factory (Photo: VNA)

 Vietnam spent a total 14.4 billion USD on imports in April, driving down the monthly trade deficit by 57 percent to 600 million USD.

The April import figure brings the four-month trade deficit to 2.99 billion USD, equivalent to 6 percent of exports, which was described as “alarming” by deputy head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Import and Export Department, Tran Thanh Hai, during a monthly meeting in Hanoi on April 27.

Of the 13.8 billion USD worth of goods exported during the month, 9.3 billion USD (excluding crude oil) was from foreign-invested firms, up a slight 2.2 percent from March and 12.9 percent year-on-year.

During the first four months of this year, domestic businesses brought home 15 billion USD, or 30 percent of the total. The total export earnings rose 8.2 percent, lower than the 10 percent forecast, with shipments of agro-fisheries, fuels and minerals falling.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Cam Tu asked the department to ensure that the trade deficit remains within limits and told them to stimulate exports, especially rice.

On the occasion, the Vietnam Coffee – Cocoa Association asked for more preferential loans to farmers and exporters, citing that coffee output tumbled 25 percent due to an ongoing drought in the Central Highlands.

Hai also called on local authorities to offer all possible support to farmers and businesses, making it easier to boost farm produce consumption.-VNA