Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has signed a decision to ratify an import/export strategy for the period 2011-20 with an orientation towards 2030.

Under the strategy specified in Decision 2471/QD-TTg, the country's total exports by 2020 are expected to increase by three times against an export value of 71 billion USD in 2010, ensuring balanced trade.

The Prime Minister has also instructed local industries to restructure export commodities towards industrialisation and modernisation, improving the export proportion of high value- added products, high-tech goods and environmentally friendly products.

The strategy focuses on four commodity groups: fuel and minerals, agro-forestry and seafood products, processing and manufacturing items and new and highvalue-added products.

The strategy also sets out specific targets. The annual export growth rate will average 12 percent from 2011-15, 11 percent from 2016-20 and 10 percent from 2021-30.

The trade deficit will be reduced to less than 10 percent of the total export turnover by 2015 and reach a trade balance by 2020 towards a trade surplus from 2021-30.

The Prime Minister also asked industries to tighten imports in a bid to narrow the trade deficit. To do this, it is essential to bolster production and develop fuels, raw materials and accessories, as well support industries.

Machinery and high-tech equipment will continue to be imported to save energy and protect the environment and other import markets should be diversified to guarantee reasonable prices in order to reduce the trade deficit.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam expects to reach an export revenue of 108.8 billion USD this year, up 13 percent from last year. The import value is predicted at 121.8 billion USD, a year-on-year increase of 15.2 percent, leaving the trade deficit 13 billion USD.

Last year, Vietnam's trade deficit was the lowest in the past 10 years, reaching just over 9.5 billion USD, a year-on-year decrease of nearly 23 percent – half of the Government's target of 18 percent for the whole financial year, the General Statistics Office (GSO) reported.

It has been attributed to the rising export value of nearly 96.26 billion USD last year, a year-on-year increase of 33.3 percent – the highest level since 1995 and tripling the National Assembly's target of 10 percent.

Head of the GSO's Trade Department Le Minh Thuy attributed the high export value last year to business expansion by a number of FDI enterprises.

"In 2011, the proportion of industrial and mineral products exported rose 4 percent year-on-year and accounted for 35.2 percent of total export value," Thuy said. /.