Vietnam’s trade deficit with China hit 17.2 billion USD in the first nine months of 2013, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

In the period, Vietnam spent more than 26.7 billion USD on importing products from China , accounting for 27.5 percent of the country’s total import turnover. The import value has exceeded 1 billion USD for five commodity groups which were cloth, machinery and spare parts, mobile phones and components, computers and electronic products, and iron and steel.

Meanwhile, the country’s exports to China earned about 9.5 billion USD, a year-on-year increase of just 2.6 percent.

China has surpassed Japan and the Republic of Korea to become Vietnam ’s largest import trade partner.

Economic experts attributed the growing trade deficit to the weak support industries in Vietnam , which forced the country to buy from China

They said in order to improve the deficit, it is necessary to increase export activities, change the structure of imports and expand domestic production while developing the support industry.

They also urged the country to strive to export products with high added value like software, electric and electronic components, and diversify markets for export, shifting to such potential ones as Africa and Middle East , to reduce the dependence on the Chinese market.

The two countries have signed an economic and trade development plan for 2012-2016, with the aim of bringing two-way trade to 60 billion USD by 2015 and improve bilateral trade balance.-VNA