National Assembly deputies have voiced concern over the current trade deficit, Government budget overspending, rising public debt, insufficient investment in infrastructure development as well as difficulty in raising production.

"The Government must continue to push for more administrative reforms, step up the fight against smuggled goods and also come up with ways of helping small-to-medium sized businesses prepare for global integration," said deputy Tran Hoang Ngan from HCM City on June 8.

Deputies also noted that in recent years Vietnamese exports had faced numerous challenges as the country was slow in implementing technological advances to allow them to compete better.

They urged the Government to encourage businesses to invest in technological innovation - and develop support industries and co-operative models in agricultural production.

"There is a gap in bargaining power between farmers and agricultural product merchants. Co-operative models could help farmers gain some negotiating power on selling their produce," said deputy Nguyen Thien Nhan from northern Bac Giang province.

Addressing a question on the development of fisheries, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh said the programme to provide fishermen with financial assistance to build steel fishing boats was moving ahead.

A report from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development showed 648 new fishing boats were registered under the Government programme by the end of May. Of these, about half were steel hulled boats.

Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh said the Law on small-to-medium sized enterprises, which would be introduced next year, would provide support for 95 percent of the total number of businesses in Vietnam.

In an effort to make Vietnam a more popular destination for international tourists, the Government has been designing a programme to expand marketing activities and improve service and human resource quality for the tourism industry.

It was also working on a policy to offer unilateral visa exemption for tourists from many countries.-VNA