The Ministry of Industry and Trade is calling for the renovation of technologies to enhance the quality of products and services of State economic groups and corporations under it.

The proposed renovation is expected to raise the quality and lower the prices of products and services of the economic groups and corporations, which all signed a cooperation agreement prioritising the use of each other's products and services two years ago.

The agreement, a response to the campaign called "Vietnamese use Vietnamese products," aimed to increase local procurement rates and enhance the supply chain among State economic groups and corporations under the ministry. It also helped boost the production and lower the inventories of these groups and corporations.

Exactly 16 State economic groups and corporations signed a common agreement while 11 groups and corporations signed bilateral memorandum of understanding calling for the use of each others' products and services on October 9, 2011.

The implementation of the agreement led to the signing of numerous contracts estimated to be worth 71 trillion VND (3.35 billion USD). The figure excludes the purchase contracts for electricity, oil and petrol, the ministry's report showed.

However, cooperation remained limited as locally-produced products only met a modest part of the demand.

According to the ministry, a good number of products made in line with the agreement were poor in quality and design and could not compete against imported products. The products also did not meet the quality standards of State economic corporations.

Nguyen Xuan Son, PetroVietnam Chairman, confirmed this on August 19 when he said product quality was a major hurdle for his company.

Son said the group's fund for prioritising the use of State corporations' products had not been used up because the products failed to meet the standards of the petrol and oil sector.

The petrol and oil sector each year must use millions of tonnes of steel for its work, but most of the steel that PetroVietnam used was imported because locally-produced steel was poor in quality, he added.

Tran Quang Nghi, Vinatex Chairman, said the ministry should evaluate the competitiveness of locally-manufactured in comparison with imported products.

If locally-manufactured products were of equivalent quality and price as imported ones, local products would be prioritised, Nghi said.

Besides enhancing product and service quality to meet international standards, the ministry also urged State economic groups and corporations to ensure competitive pricing of products by lowering production costs.-VNA