Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has instructed the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) to give a shot in the arm to local businesses in 2014 as economic restructuring continues apace.

Addressing MoIT’s New Year conference in Hanoi on January 10, the PM said the ministry should focus its full attention on introducing policies that assist the building of domestic brands and fully develop support industries, thus increasing the technological and local content of made-in-Vietnam products and allowing a step by step switch from subcontracting and assembling to designing and manufacturing.

PM Dung suggested that the “Vietnamese people using Vietnamese goods” campaign should be further expanded, while the ministry must play a more active role in negotiating free trade agreements (FTA) and popularising already-signed deals so that domestic enterprises can make full use of the available preferential treatment.

He also demanded that the ministry strengthen market management in order to curb the abundance of fake goods, trade fraud and smuggling, while ensuring the supply-demand balance for essential commodities.

The leader noted that the application of a market pricing mechanism on electricity, coal and petrol should continue to be implemented in line with the set roadmap in a transparent manner, taking into account the need to keep inflation under control. At the same time, there should be appropriate policies to support the poor and beneficiaries of social welfare.

The Government leader commended the MoIT for the work it had done in 2013 in the context of the economic downturn. He said the ministry’s efforts have resulted in quarterly increases in industrial production and sharp decreases in inventory index. The domestic market has maintained a healthy growth while exports have surpassed the set targets.

According to reports at the conference, the industrial production index saw a 5.9 percent rise in 2013, compared to 5.8 percent in 2012. Total retail and services revenues for the year rose by an estimated 12.6 percent from the previous year. The country earned more than 132 billion USD from exports, up 15.4 percent from the 2012 figure and higher than the yearly target set by the National Assembly.

The ministry is resolved to continue with institutional reforms and completing the legal framework for the industry and trade sector with the goal of creating a fair business environment in line with the socialist-oriented market economy and international practice.

Sustainable development of export is also high on the ministry’s working agency for 2014, together with restructuring industrial production and developing support industries.-VNA