Shrimp processed for export (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Ministry of Industry and Trade has forecast that Vietnam’s total export revenue will grow 10-12 percent to hit a record of 239 billion USD for the whole year 2018, much higher than the set target of 214 billion USD.

Deputy head of the ministry’s Foreign Trade Agency Tran Thanh Hai, shipments of key products such as telephones and spare parts, garment and textiles, electronics, computers and spare parts, equipment and footwear during January-October continued to rise over the same time last year.

In stark contrast, steep decline was seen in the export of crude oil, which fell 24.8 percent year on year to 1.8 billion USD.

Vietnam raked in some 200.3 billion USD from exports in the period, or 14.2 percent higher than the amount earned in the same time in 2017. Of the total amount, 56.82 billion USD was contributed by domestic sector and 143.45 billion USD by foreign-invested sector.

The US remained the largest importer of Vietnam when it spent 39.17 billion USD purchasing products from the Southeast Asian country (up 13.4 percent year-on-year), followed by the EU with 34.6 billion USD (increasing 9 percent), China with 33.1 billion USD (growing 25.1 percent), ASEAN with 20.4 billion USD (expanding 13 percent), and Japan with 15.26 billion USD (rising 10.2 percent).

Hai said in the period, Vietnam continued to promote exports to its traditional markets while developing new markets by capitalising on the free trade agreements (FTAs) which have taken effect or are under negotiations.

If local firms know how to take full advantage of the FTAs, this will serve as a catalyst to bolster exports, he said, adding that improvement in business climate has given momentum to the expansion of export enterprises.

Also in the ten-month period, Vietnam splashed out 193.84 billion USD on imports, a year-on-year increase of 11.8 percent. Most of the purchased products were electronic products, computers and spare parts, equipment, telephones and spare parts, steel and petrol.

Experts said domestic production has shown signs of strong recovery as the rate of imports that need to be controlled only accounted for 6.5 percent of the total import revenue.

During January-October, the country enjoyed a trade surplus of 6.4 billion USD, with a trade deficit of 20.7 billion USD from the domestic sector, and 27.1 billion USD in trade surplus from the foreign-invested sector.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement, which will take effect in the end of this year, have made Vietnam more attractive to foreign-direct investment. Domestic investment, sparked by business confidence, favourable business environment, stable monetary policy, is forecast to continue increasing to generate new production capacity together with foreign investment.

Furthermore, Vietnamese firms are more confident to bolster shrimp and tra fish exports to the US after the country decided to reduce anti-dumping tariffs on the products.

Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Do Thang Hai said that to promote exports in the last two months of the year, the ministry will keep a close watch on the world’s economic developments, particularly the escalating US-China trade war, to pen rational measures to enhance shipments and prevent trade and origin frauds.

Production of goods meeting quality and food safety standards as well as fitting the taste of export markets will be prioritised, Hai stressed.

On the other hand, the ministry will work to give timely forecast and warning over the safeguard measures imposed on Vietnamese products while removing bottlenecks for enterprises to branch out export markets.

Besides, it will pay due attention to increasing Vietnam’s market share in traditional markets and creating favourable conditions for Vietnamese products to gain foothold in new markets.

Accelerating negotiation, signing and ratification of free trade deals with foreign countries and implementing Vietnam’s integration commitments should be placed at the first line of the measures, he said. -VNA