Vietnam to become China’s biggest ASEAN trader in 2016: counsellor hinh anh 1Containers of goods are loaded at Cat Lai port (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam will surely become the biggest ASEAN trade partner of China in 2016, Economic and Commercial Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam Hu Suo Jin said on March 8.

Talking to reporters in Hanoi, Hu said although the global economic slowdown continued in 2015, the two countries’ trade still grew stably and fast. Vietnam is currently the second largest ASEAN trade partner of his country, following Malaysia, while China is the biggest exporter to and the fourth largest importer of Vietnam.

China’s statistics show that bilateral trade revenue hit 95.8 billion USD in 2015, a year-on-year increase of 14.6 percent. That included 66.1 billion USD in China’s exports to and 29.7 billion USD in its imports from Vietnam, up 3.8 percent and 49.1 percent from 2014 respectively.

Vietnam – China trade now accounts for 2.4 percent of China’s total trade turnover, rising by 1.4 percentage points from five years previously.

In January 2016, 7.8 billion USD worth of goods were traded between the two neighbours, the counsellor noted.

Based on those facts, he forecast they can reach the target trade of 100 billion USD this year, one year ahead of schedule, and turn Vietnam into China’s biggest ASEAN trade partner.

Regarding the imbalance in bilateral trade, Hu said the problem is being improved, citing his country’s data that Vietnam’s deficit in trade with China last year declined 7.4 billion USD from 2014.

However, he also admitted that such imbalance cannot be solved in a short period of time.

To help their trade develop more sustainably, the nations have employed various measures to re-balance trade, he said, adding that Vietnam has shipped a number of electronic products, machinery and high added-value goods to China, which in turn has boosted imports from Vietnam.

The official said cross-border trade is an important part in their trade relationship. The two countries are negotiating a bilateral cross-border trade agreement. The group on border trade cooperation will hold a meeting in China’s Yunnan province on March 23 – 24 during which they will review the agreement and strive to sign it in 2016.

Hu considered Vietnam’s revised Law on Investment, announced in July 2015, as relatively flexible. It aims to create an equal, fair and open environment for foreign invested businesses.

At present, China ranks ninth among countries and territories pouring direct investment in Vietnam, he added.-VNA