Vietnam’s export earnings expanded by an estimated 33 percent to 19.2 billion USD in the first quarter of the year.

The surge was attributed largely to the figure attained in March – 7 billion USD, or a 26 percent rise year on year.

Also in the first quarter, Vietnam spent 22.2 billion USD on imports, a year-on-year increase of 23 percent.

The figure helped the country maintain a trade deficit at just 3 billion USD, which was equal to 15.7 percent of the export value.

These statistics were provided by Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Thanh Bien on the sidelines of a press briefing on the trade and investment fair in Hanoi on Mar. 24.

According to Bien, the recovery of many export markets after the global financial crisis plus the Government’s measures to stabilise the macroeconomy and control inflation had a positive influence on Vietnam’s import-export activities in the first quarter.

However, he pointed out that soaring prices of raw materials, instability in North Africa, and the recent devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan,“ would, more or less, affect the country’s exports”.

To avert those difficulties, the Ministry of Industry and Trade will continue boosting trade promotion campaigns in the country’s key markets, especially the EU and the US.

It will assist local enterprises and sectors in fulfilling contracts they signed for the first half of this year to increase the country’s export value, Bien said./.