Minister and head of the Government Office Nguyen Van Nen fielded questions about steps against negative impacts on socio-economic development arising from the ongoing East Sea dispute at the Government’s monthly press briefing in Hanoi on July 1.

Cross-border trade activity with China has slowed down, he acknowledged, but assured that its bad effects will not spread too far.

“China is closely monitoring cross-border trade with Vietnam, which also makes it easier for Vietnamese goods to enter the country via official channels,” he said.

By launching both short and long-term measures, Vietnam is seeking more markets, especially those in demand for farm produce, Nen said, emphasising that the government has directed ministries and agencies to jump on the process as well.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai, for his part, refuted a rumour that not until the East Sea dispute broke out did Vietnam start to expand markets.

Vietnam has long sought to extend its commercial reaches, both in and outside the country, for quite a long time, especially in its traditional US and EU markets, besides new markets such as Russia, the Middle East, Africa, he confirmed.

“It is the East Sea event that forces the country to make faster changes to deal with even the worst case,” he noted.

At home, the annual “Vietnamese people prioritise using Vietnamese goods” campaign has become a success story, according to Thang, who cited the case of the northern signature fruit, litchi, as an example -- as much as 60 percent of the exotic fruit are sold domestically at a higher price than export one.

Dismissing news that Chinese litchi are making ways to Vietnam, Minister Nen joined in making clear that Vietnam is still shipping litchi to the neighbour.

About the Taiwanese-invested Formorsa’s proposal on the establishment of a special economic zone in the central province of Ha Tinh together with the building of houses for foreign workers working for the project, Nen said the government has turned down its request reasoning Vietnamese laws having no regulations mandating the issues.

At present, ministries, agencies and localities are working together to handle the case in line with the law, he added.

On the East Sea issue, Nen voiced his concern that it has done harm to Vietnam – China cooperative ties.

In face of that, the Prime Minister has asked ministries, agencies and localities to keep an eye on the latest developments there. They were also requested to collect all available materials as the government is considering taking legal actions against China in conformity with international law, according to the official.

Aid packages will be provided for more workers and enterprises affected by the anti-China riots in central and southern provinces in May. At the order of the PM, security and social order must be secured to prevent similar incidents in the future and safeguard the country’s sacred sea and island sovereignty, Nen said.

The cabinet is considering how to bring its aid package of 16 trillion VND (761 million USD) to fishermen affected by the East Sea tensions as soon as possible.

Issues related to new electricity prices and fines on wearing sub-standard helmets were also cleared up.-VNA