Export – a bright spot of economic panorama hinh anh 1Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at the conference (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam’s export-import exceeded 420 billion USD for the first time in 2017, of which export recorded the highest growth of 21.1 percent over the past seven years with 29 commodities joining the one billion USD club.

Addressing a conference of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) in Hanoi on January 15, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc hailed the sector for its excellent performance in 2017.

In addition to the record export growth, as one of the top 10 events of the sector in 2017, the MoIT endeavoured to reduce and simplify 675 investment and business conditions, accounting for 55.5 percent of the total.

Divestment at State-owned enterprises was one of the most notable achievements of the ministry last year with the successful auction of the shares of the Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp (Sabeco), collecting nearly 110 trillion VND for the State, he said.

This demonstrated the confidence of investors in the local market, the Government and macro economy, he noted.

PM Phuc hailed the efforts of State groups and companies under the management of the ministry, particularly Sabeco, and recognised significant and positive changes in the industrial growth model based on processing and manufacturing industries, and reduced imports.

The MoIT worked to ensure goods supply-demand and create nearly 2.7 billion USD in trade surplus.

The PM praised the ministry for pioneering in simplification and reduction of administrative procedures, contributing to increasing national competitiveness. It seriously implemented the Party and Government’s directions on restructuring the apparatus and actively handling loss-making projects.

He also pointed to shortcomings in the field and asked the ministry to quickly address them in 2018, including some policies hindering development, weak supply-demand forecast, and loose connectivity between production and market to reduce risks. Exports remain in the foreign direct investment (FDI) sector, while the country still depends on imported materials.

There are some restrictions in domestic market management and prevention of trade frauds. The reform of State firms is still at the snail speed and ineffective, he noted.

The PM urged the MoIT to push ahead with processing and manufacturing industries in service of agriculture.

The sector should prioritise investment attraction in hi-tech, competitive and environmentally friendly projects in 2018 and the following years as well as promote production towards exports, secure the domestic market, and seek goods distribution channels to increase added value in processing industry in Vietnam, he recommended.

He underlined specific targets set by the Government for the MoIT in 2018 such as industry and construction striving to make up 7.7 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and export turnover to expand by 8-10 percent against 2017.

Localities must closely direct trade development and market management in their areas, PM Phuc said.

He hailed the ministry’s initiative of organising dialogues with businesses to promote exports in 2018.-VNA