Vietnam targets average export growth of 11-12 percent a year until 2020 and gradual reduction of imports to wipe out the trade deficit by then and achieve a surplus by 2030, according to its overseas market development plan.

Asia will account for 46 percent of the exports, the EU for 20 percent, the America for 25 percent, Oceania for 4 percent and Africa for 5 percent.

The establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community this year would strengthen investment and trade ties between countries in the bloc, Le An Hai, deputy head of the Asia-Pacific Market Department, told a meeting held in Ho Chi Minh City last week to collect opinions from companies, business groups, and official agencies about the plan.

Vietnam would strengthen trade promotion in ASEAN to ensure exports to the bloc increase by 10 percent a year on average to at least 31 billion USD by 2020, he said.

Besides, efforts would be made to boost exports to other Asian markets like the Republic of Korea, Japan, and China, he said.

The economic recovery in the EU along with the upcoming free trade agreement with it would open up opportunities for Vietnamese exporters, he said.

Exports to the EU are expected to rise by 15 percent a year to 58 billion USD by 2020.

The country will also try to increase exports to the US and Canada by 15 percent a year and strengthen trade promotion to boost exports to countries in Africa, Latin America, and Oceania.

The plan also contains measures to achieve the targets, including strengthening of international co-operation and communication to help businesses understand and capitalise on the opportunities brought by the FTA, he said.

Vietnam will strive to improve the quality of its export items and boost exports of processed goods with high value-addition and key agricultural products like rice, foodstuff, coffee, rubber, and seafood and reduce exports of crude oil and coal.

Delegates at the meeting appreciated the necessity for the plan, but urged the Government to take measures to help exporters, especially small- and medium-sized firms, to improve competitiveness.

Le Thi Giau, chairwoman and general director of the Binh Tay Foodstuff Joint Stock Company, said companies need policy support to facilitate exports.

Nguyen Truc Van of the HCM City Institute for Development Studies said the plan drafters should research into demand as well as consumer tastes in foreign markets to enable businesses to create suitable export strategies.

Tran Vinh Nhung, deputy director of the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade, said the plan should consist of concrete action programmes for each market and region to improve the efficiency of trade promotion programmes.

Vietnam has trade relations with over 200 countries and territories.-VNA