Domestic firms have been urged to boost exports to China to offset Vietnam's huge trade deficit with the neighbouring country.

China is a large market with a high demand for products that Vietnam specialises in, such as wood and furniture, agricultural products, foodstuff and raw materials, according to the China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) Secretariat.

However, it said that only a few Vietnamese enterprises had successfully utilised opportunities to introduce their products and services to Chinese consumers.

As well as facilitating exports to China, Vietnam has vowed to create favourable conditions for Chinese firms to develop industrial and export processing zones in the country.

According to the deputy general director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Asia Pacific Market Department, Dao Ngoc Chuong, these conditions could support the industrial production and export processes.

Chuong also encouraged firms to improve the value of Vietnamese exports for which China has a long-term consumption demand or can re-export to third countries.

The General Department of Customs said Vietnam 's trade deficit with its northern neighbour has hit 6.55 billion USD already this year, an amount equivalent to 40 percent of 2012 in its entirety.

During the period, Vietnam exported only 3.88 billion USD worth of goods to China while its imports from the country stood at 10.43 billion USD, the department said.

Since 2000, the structure of Vietnamese goods exported to China, mainly including mineral resources, agricultural products and seafood, has remained unchanged. This is an explanation for the deficit with China rising from 210 million USD in 2001 to 16.39 billion USD in 2012, Chuong said.

During the eighth session of the Vietnam – China Joint State Commission on Economic and Trade Co-operation held last month in Hanoi, the two sides signed an MoU on bilateral cooperation in agro-products trading.

This was an important agreement helping the partners in this sector, especially as Vietnam has the potential to boost the export of these products to China with a view to lowering the trade deficit.-VNA