Vietnam is striving to fetch 131 billion USD from exports in 2013, an increase of 14 percent against last year and 4 percent higher than the target set by the National Assembly.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh told representatives of business associations and exporters in the southern region recently that exports remained a silver lining in the country’s economic panorama as its turnover amounted to 96.27 billion USD in the first nine months of this year, up 15.5 percent year-on-year, despite narrowed markets, falling prices and production difficulties.

The industrial and processed products made up 70 percent of the country’s total exports as they earned 67.44 billion USD, a 26.8 percent rise over the same period last year.

Mobile phones remained the top foreign currency earner, bringing home 15.5 billion USD, a year-on-year growth of 19.9 percent. It was followed by garment, with 13.1 billion USD; footwear, 6 billion USD; and wood and wooden products 3.87 billion USD.

According to the Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso), the target of an export turnover of 9.5-10 billion USD this year is within its reach.

Nguyen Van Tuan, Deputy General Secretary of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas) forecast an 18.5 billion USD export revenue for the industry in 2013 as orders are large.

However, the export of agro-seafood products faced a lot of difficulties due to the global economic downturn. In the nine-month period, the country’s coffee exports reached only 1 million tonnes, down 23.4 percent year-on-year.

Rice, a key export of Vietnam , also saw decreases of 14.7 percent in volume and 17.2 percent in value, said Truong Thanh Phong, President of the Vietnam Food Association (VFA), adding that the sector has lowered its yearly export target from 7.5 million tonnes to 7 million tonnes.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), although the world economy has shown signs of recovery, declining demand and increasing protectionism have caused difficulties for Vietnamese exporters in expanding their markets and seeking partners.

Therefore, the MoIT and the Ministry of Planning and Investment have submitted to the Government the scenario for next year’s exports with a turnover of 144 billion USD, an increase of 10 percent.

This is a big challenge that requires concerted efforts by all ministries, agencies, associations and businesses, said Anh.

He suggested ministries and agencies focus on solving capital and interest rate issues for producers and exporters while building mechanisms and policies to support agro-seafood consumption.

It is necessary to enhance the control of the quality of exports in order to improve the prestige of Vietnamese products in the world market, he added.-VNA