The Ministry of Industry and Trade will step up efforts to control the trade deficity by more tightly restricting the import of luxury or unnecessary goods.

"We will take bolder measures, including administrative measures, to restrict the import of luxury goods, especially cars, mobile phone, cosmetics and wine, in order to keep the trade deficit at less than 16 percent of total export value," said Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang.

Ministry statistics show that the nation's import value last month hit 8.7 billion USD, leaving the trade deficit at 1.4 billion USD, its highest monthly level this year. The trade deficit in the first four months of this year reached 4.9 billion USD, equal to 18.8 percent of total exports during the period.

In the first four months, the import of goods subject to control such as fruits and vegetables, confectionery, steel, precious metals, and auto and motorbike parts surged 23.2 percent to 1.66 billion USD. Meanwhile, the import of goods subject to import restriction, such automobiles and mobile phones, also surged sharply to more than 1.5 billion USD, with auto imports alone rising 71.4 percent to 21,000 units, worth a total of 400 million USD.

Imports from China in the first four months surged 24.8 percent to nearly 4 billion USD, while imports from ASEAN markets rose by 41.2 percent to 2.6 billion USD.

Phan Van Chinh, director of the ministry's import and export department, said easier access to the US dollar in the wake of the devaluation of the dong might have led to an increase in imports of consumer goods, so it was necessary to more closely control the imports.

Hoang said that his ministry will coordinate with the Ministry of Finance and the General Department of Customs to scrutinise existing import taxes on goods subject to import restriction and raise some duties as appropriate.

He also ordered State-owned groups and firms under the ministry's auspices to use Vietnamese-made materials, parts and equipment for their production and projects./.