Export totalled 29.68 billion USD in the first quarter of this year, up 19.7 percent from the same period last year, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has reported.

The 19.7-percent increase was mainly attributed to the export of mobile phones and accessories by Samsung Vietnam, Deputy Minister Tran Quoc Khanh said at his ministry’s online meeting on April 1.

Khanh, however, warned of a slowdown in export, citing sharp drops in the nation’s key export items, such as rice and seafood.

Drastic measures need to be promptly taken for the three remaining quarters to reach the set yearly target, particularly at a time when the country’s major export markets, like the US, the EU and Japan have yet recovered due to economic downturn, Khanh added.

Total three-month imports hit 29.2 billion USD, rising by 17 percent compared to the same period last year. The figure put the country’s trade balance in surplus of 482 million USD in the reviewed period.

However, March alone welcomed a trade deficit of 300 million USD, an indication that local businesses are improving their production, Deputy Minister Ho Thi Kim Thoa commented at her ministry’s regular monthly meeting held the same day.-VNA