Vietnam has achieved a trade surplus of 284 million USD this year after 20 years of running in a deficit, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

Export turnover for the year totalled 114.631 billion USD, an increase of 18.3 percent over last year while import revenue reached 114.347 billion USD, representing a rise of 7.1 percent.

The previous trade surplus recorded was in 1992 at 100 million USD.

According to Director of the GSO's Trade Department Le Thi Minh Thuy, the trade surplus was attributed to the high growth rate of exports, which nearly doubled the goal set by the National Assembly, while import growth rate was three times lower.

Vietnam managed to maintain exports to traditional markets such as Europe , even though the global economy was faltering.

The European market became the leading export market for Vietnam this year with turnover of 20.3 billion USD, up 22.5 percent over last year, followed by the US (19.6 billion USD, up 15.6 percent), ASEAN markets (17.2 billion USD, up 27.1 percent), and Japan (13 billion USD, up 21.4 percent).

Statistics also showed that foreign direct investment (FDI) saw high growth to reach 72.298 billion USD in export revenue, accounting for more than 63 percent of the country's total figure and increasing by 31.2 percent over last year, while export value from the domestic sector was 42.333 billion USD, up only 1.32 percent.

There were 19 out of 29 export commodities of Vietnam that reported revenues ranging from 1.5 billion USD to more than 15 billion USD, including garments and textiles (15.35 billion USD, up 7.1 percent), phones and components (12.644 billion USD, up 97.7 percent), computers and electronics (7.882 billion USD, up 69.1 percent), and crude oil (8.4 billion USD, up 15.9 percent).
Some products saw declining exports, such as rubber (down 12.6 percent in value), and coal (down 22.8 percent).

Imports steadied with a low growth rate of 7.1 percent, with 15 out of 30 import commodities seeing declines compared with last year such as automobiles (down 32.5 percent), and animal and vegetable oil (down 21.9 percent).

Petrol and oil imports fell the furthest to 8.894 billion USD and 9.119 million tonnes, decreasing 10 percent and 14.6 percent, respectively.

Liquefied petroleum gas, rubber and fertilisers were among those to report decreases in imports, while imports of electronic products, computers and components rose 66.8 percent to reach turnover of 13.98 billion USD, vehicles 43.9 percent and fabric 4.7 percent.

The low growth of imports reflected the stagnation of domestic production, said Thuy.

Total imports of the domestic sector reached 54.9 billion USD, a decline of 6.7 percent over last year, while the FDI sector totalled 60.338 billion USD, an increase of 23.5 percent.

China remained Vietnam's biggest import market, with turnover of 28.9 billion USD compared to export of 12.2 billion USD.-VNA