Shipments of garment and textiles falls 21 percent year-on-year to 2.6 billion USD in January. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnamese “billion-US dollar” exports items brought home only 19 billion USD in January, a year-on-year fall of 14.3 percent, according to the latest data from the General Statistics Office of Vietnam.

The strongest decline was seen in the shipments of garment and textiles (down 21 percent to 2.6 billion USD), and telephone and components (down 22.4 percent to 2.6 billion USD).

Notably, several agricultural products such as seafood, coffee, cashew, rubber, rice and pepper, among others also experienced a plunge in their revenue in the first month of the year.

Nguyen Dinh Tung, General Director of Vina T&T Group - a Vietnamese fruit exporter, said that although his firm has received stable orders, formidable challenges are ahead as China, a key importer of Vietnamese fruits, has tightened quality norms and demanded origin traceability, making it difficult for Vietnamese exporters to access the market.

Furthermore, China officially recommended halting trade exchange between its Guangxi and Yunnan provinces and border localities of Vietnam until February 10 as the coronavirus is spreading.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Foreign Trade Agency said trade flow through Vietnam-China border gates will be critically affected by the virus outbreak; therefore, local businesses should outline measures to have suitable goods delivery modes, seek new markets or promote consumption domestically.

According to insiders, export revenue of garment and textile, footwear, electronic products dropped in the month due to the week-long Tet holiday.

General Director of May 10 Corporation Than Duc Viet said that despite stable orders for the first half of the year, businesses should stay prudent with the market instability, pay due attention to consumption trend, while seeking new markets so as to realise their export targets.

As for the leather, footwear and handbag sector, the target of 24 billion USD in export turnover is achievable for the whole year as many foreign customers still choose Vietnamese products, according to Chairman of the Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association Nguyen Duc Thuan./.