Vietnam's trade gap from Thailand nears $ 3.5 bln

Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh yesterday chaired a conference in Hanoi with leaders of departments and agencies to find the reasons why Vietnam excesses of imports over exports from Thailand and the solutions to enhance competitiveness of local products, and to promote exports activities to Thailand, aiming to balance the trade gap between two countries.

Vietnamese people prefer to use Thai products. (Illustrative photo:SGGP)

Vietnamese people prefer to use Thai products. (Illustrative photo:SGGP)

According to Department of Africa, West Asia and South Asia Markets under Ministry of Industry and Trade, total import and export turnover between Vietnam and Thailand reached around US$ 9.64 billion, of these export turnover accounted about US$ 3.07 billion while import turnover from Thailand was US$ 6.57 billion.  
Vietnam’s trade gap from Thailand neared US$ 3.5 billion on the first eight months of the year, an increase of 15.6 percent compared to the same period last year.

The reason is local products have been manufactured but enterprises have still imported electrical and electronic items, electronic components, vegetables, computers, plastic products, iron and steel, household products like detergents, cosmetic, kitchen utensils, furniture... from Thailand.

With vegetables, Vietnam imported US$ 410 million (accounted for 44.3 percent of the total vegetables import turnover of Vietnam in the world, by ten-fold of vegetables export turnover of Vietnam to Thailand in 2016). 

In the first eight months of 2017, the vegetables import activity from Thailand to Vietnam reached US$ 618 million.

In addition to Thailand's efforts to reduce tariffs under integration commitments, the country's leading retail groups such as Central Group and TCC Group have been trading and doing M&A with its retail chains and continuing to expand their business activities in Vietnam which has created favorable conditions for Thai enterprises to bring their products to Vietnamese consumers. 

In addition, the investment expansion for Thai enterprises in Vietnam also leaded to an increase in the goods import to sever production and business in Vietnam.

At the conference, Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh urged the departments to find the solutions to overcome the trade deficit, towards a balance of trade between the two countries in the upcoming times. 

Additionally, many solutions were performed at the conference; especially the application of import management measures towards quality control of imported products including food hygiene and safety, technical standards and environment have also been mentioned.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade also proposed solutions for supermarkets owned by Thai enterprises in strengthening support to introduce and consume Vietnamese products, cooperate with retail distribution groups of Thailand to organize Vietnamese Products Week and Conference on Vietnamese Products, continue the campaign "The Vietnamese give priority to using Vietnamese goods". Besides, the ministry needs to assist the localities, associations and enterprises to organize trade promotion programs in the Thai market.

 The Ministry of Industry and Trade needs to closely corporate with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to manage the imported products from other countries including Thailand to ensure the products quality, aiming to promote the negotiation with Thailand in opening the market for Vietnam agriculture products.

BY PHUC HAU- Translated by Huyen Huong

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