Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has asked for more efforts to develop both domestic and foreign markets, boost exports and effectively control imports.

The PM made the request on December 24 while chairing the teleconference between the Government and localities which was started on December 23 and saw participants focus their discussions on the Government’s draft resolution on its guidelines and management of the implementation of the 2014 socio-economic development plan and budget estimates.

He urged ministries, industries and localities to make full use of opportunities created by international commitments, and to stay active and positive in negotiations for free trade agreements, especially the Trans-Pacific Partnership and those with the EU, the Republic of Korea and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan .

Looking back on the 2013 socio-economic development, PM Dung noted that despite many difficulties and challenges, the country has maintained the macro-economic stability, reduced the inflation rate and recorded a higher growth compared with 2012.

The forex and gold market has been stabilised, with foreign reserves increasing robustly, he said, adding political security and social order and safety have been maintained while national sovereignty ensured.

However, he also pointed out a number of shortcomings that need to be addressed, saying that GDP growth falls short of plan, business and production face difficulties, the settlement of bad debts remains slow and economic restructuring moves at a snail’s pace.

The government leader also requested breakthroughs in restructuring the economy, renovating the growth model and improving the efficiency and competitiveness of the economy.

He asked ministries, industries and localities to drastically reform public investment and reshuffle the banking system.

In addition, he said, it is necessary to speed up agricultural restructuring in combination with building new-style rural areas, providing training and generating more jobs for rural labourers.

PM Dung also called for the tightened management of the licensing and exploitation of minerals and better environmental protection.

He ordered ministries, industries and localities to effectively control market prices, ensure goods supply and maintain social order, security and safety in the upcoming New Year and Lunar New Year.

Leaders of ministries and localities gave their opinions on key measures to reach socio-economic development goals for 2014, including a 5.8 percent GDP growth, a 10 percent rise in exports with a trade deficit of 6 percent of the export revenue, and a consumer price index of 7 percent.

In 2014, the Government will spend about 30 percent of the total GDP on social development, reducing the ratio of poor households by 1.7 - 2 percent and 4 percent in poor districts, and generating about 1.6 million jobs, the draft resolution said.-VNA