Export turnover is expected to hit 84.5 to 85.5 billion USD for the year, 6.1 billion USD higher than the target set by the National Assembly.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) held an online meting on June 4 to announce that total export value reached 42.3 billion USD in the first half of 2011, an increase of 30.3 percent compared to the same period last year.

The increase was attributed to increases in both volume and prices of exported commodities.

About 10 commodities reached export turnover of more than 1 billion USD, the meeting was told.

Excluding gold, the total export revenue in the first half of 2011 was estimated to increase by about 10.5 billion USD compared with the same period last year.

Nguyen Tien Vy, director of the ministry's Planning Department, said that textile and garment export turnover reached 6.16 billion USD, about half of the year's target of 13 billion USD.

He also forecast that several key export commodities would continue contributing significantly to the total export revenues in the next half of the year.

Of this, the export value of agriculture and seafood products is forecast to earn 19 billion this year; fuel and minerals, 10.6 billion USD; industrial products, 45 billion USD and textile and garment, 13 billion USD.

At the meeting, Phan Van Chinh, director of the ministry's Export and Import Department, said that the good export performance followed many unfavourable internal and external factors, such as inflation, increased prices of materials and high interest rates.

In the first half of the year, the country's import turnover reached almost 49 billion USD, a year-on-year rise of 25.8 percent, bringing the trade deficit to 6.65 billion USD.

Of the import markets, Asian countries took the lead with 32.5 billion USD. Specifically, Vietnam imported goods worth 8.5 billion USD from ASEAN countries, 4.9 billion USD from the Republic of Korea, 3.9 billion USD from Japan and 9.1 billion USD from China.

The ministry also predicted that the total imports would cost 98.5 to 99.5 billion USD for the entire year thanks to a decline in prices, creating a trade deficit of 14 to 15 billion USD.

However, the ministry sounded a warning about a possible increase in the trade deficit in the remainder of the year due to surging prices of several import commodities, such as fuel and input materials.

Representatives from Kien Giang Province and HCM City requested the Government and the ministry to support exporters regarding interest rates.

At the meeting, the ministry sketched out several major plans to curb the trade deficit.

The ministry will continue taking a grip on the importation of luxury commodities, including mobile phones, liquor and cosmetics imported through Hai Phong, Da Nang and HCM City./.