The total merchandise export turnover was recorded at 63.2 billion USD in the first five months of this year, an increase of 7.3 percent over last year's figure.

Meanwhile, the total import turnover reached 66.2 billion USD, recording an increase of 15.8 percent from last year.

The FDI sector was overwhelmed by import-export activities, according to the General Statistic Office (GSO). The export surplus of the FDI sector kept the nation's trade deficit at 3 billion USD.

The FDI sector exported 44.4 billion USD in the first five months, increasing by 12 percent, and imported 39.7 billion USD, rising by 23.2 percent, to make a trade surplus of 4.7 billion USD.

The domestic sector exported 18.8 billion USD, nearly a half of the FDI sector, and imported 26.5 billion USD turnover, making a trade deficit of 7.7 billion USD.

According to GSO, the export products that have large values and high growth rate belonged to the FDI sector.

Telephones and components exported 11.8 billion USD, increasing by 18.5 percent; electronic products, computers and spare parts exported 6 billion USD, increasing by 59.7 percent, while footwear exported 4.6 billion USD, increasing by 19.5 percent.

Some agricultural products in the domestic sector recorded fairly high growth rates: cashew nuts earning 817 million USD and increasing 25.6 percent; cassava and its products earning 740 million USD, increasing by 47.5 percent.

GSO economic experts expressed their concerns about the export of some key products in the domestic sector, including agricultural and seafood products.

These two key export products declined in export turnover in the first five months due to harsh competiveness in price and quality, said economic experts.

Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang told Tin Tuc (News) newspaper that the country should focus on the sectors of garment and textile, footwear, and electronics.

In the agriculture sector, the minister suggested to seek markets for rice and seafood exports.

Relevant ministries have made efforts to negotiate with other governments through government rice contracts, as well as by creating conditions for enterprises to negotiate with foreign private enterprises through commercial contracts, added the minister.

He noted that these efforts had given results, especially with the Philippines, Malaysia, and some other markets.

Talking about seafood exports, the minister expressed his hope that a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Republic of Korea would take effect in the last six months of this year.

Under the FTA, seafood products exported to their market will be taxed zero percent.

Earlier, ASEAN countries could export only 5,000 tonnes of shrimp a year to the Korean market, of that Vietnam exported some 2,500 tonnes, Hoang remarked, adding that once the FTA takes effect, Vietnam will be able to export up to 10,000 tonnes in the first year and the volume will increase by 1,000 tonnes in following years, which will offer large opportunities for Vietnamese seafood exporters.

While the seafood export turnover reached 2.44 billion USD during the period, falling by 12.1 percent, revenue from coffee was 1.19 billion USD, exporting 577,000 tonnes, down 39.6 percent in volume and 38.2 percent in turnover. Tea exports reached 43,000 tonnes, hitting 70 million USD, down 2.5 percent in volume and 0.6 percent in turnover, while rice exports was 2.5 million tonnes, hitting 1.98 billion USD, down 7.4 percent in volume and 10.7 percent in turnover. Crude oil exported 3.58 million tonnes, earning 1.54 billion USD, decreasing 5.5 percent in volume and 53.3 percent in turnover.

The import products that had high values and created the 3 billion USD trade deficit were raw materials and fuels and materials, which served production activities, mainly processing and assembling for exports in the FDI sector.

China continues to be the largest exporter to Vietnam, with 19.5 billion USD in the first five months, increasing 19.1 percent. However, the Chinese market imported only 6.1 billion USD from Vietnam, becoming the country that has the largest bilateral trade deficit with Vietnam, with 13.4 billion USD.

China has long been Vietnam's leading trade and investment partner. The transport fee to China is also much lower than to other countries, and vice versa, said the minister.

To reduce the country's dependence on one market, the minister suggested the diversification of export markets by signing trade agreements, increasing domestic production, developing substitute industry for importi products, as well as fighting smuggling through border gates.-VNA