Export turnover might reach target this year

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, up to now, export turnover has hit US$264 billion, a short of $4 billion to achieve the export target set for this year. However, the ministry said that the country will meet that goal when the year 2019 ends.

Producing handicrafts for export in Hoc Mon District in Ho Chi Minh City. (Photo: SGGP)

Producing handicrafts for export in Hoc Mon District in Ho Chi Minh City. (Photo: SGGP)

There were five products with export turnover of above $10 billion and 25 products with export turnover of above $1 billion. The leader was still cell phones and components with export value of $48.7 billion, an increase of 5.4 percent over the same period last year, followed by electronics, computers and components with $32.4 billion.

Despite efforts to exploit new markets, garment and textile exports merely exceeded $32 billion, up 8 percent. Products with export turnover of above $15 billion included footwear, machinery, equipment, tools and spare parts.

Meanwhile, aquatic products, vegetables, fruits, cashew nuts, coffee, black pepper and rubber had export turnover lower than the same period last year. Especially, aquatic products, vegetables and fruits which were expected to increase robustly this year failed to meet the goals.

The US continued to be the largest export market of Vietnam with export turnover of $55.6 billion, an increase of 27.9 percent over the same period last year. The ASEAN market came in second with $23.4 billion, up 2.4 percent.

As for Japan and South Korea market, export turnover this year continued to maintain the growth when reaching $18.6 billion, up 7.6 percent, and $18.4 billion, up 10.1 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, the two traditional markets, namely the EU and China, saw a slight decrease in export turnover.

Explaining this issue, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said that, although there was a decrease in exports from some traditional markets such as the EU and China, domestic enterprises have been exploiting quite effectively export market share from new markets to make up for a shortage of export turnover. In fact, enterprises have actively taken advantage of the benefits of free trade agreements (FTAs).

Statistics of the Ministry of Industry and Trade showed that the ratio of preferential certificate of origin in FTAs by the end of November this year reached about 39 percent compared to the total export turnover to partner markets in the FTAs. Especially, export turnover to some new markets, such as Canada and Mexico posted good growths right after the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership became effective.

In 2019 alone, trade balance between Vietnam and the above markets reached a surplus of up to $10 billion, exceeding the target. Two-way import-export turnover exceeded $500 billion. This is the fourth consecutive year that trade surplus has occurred since 2016.

This marked an important milestone in Vietnam’s trade activities, at the same time, creating momentum for export activities to develop sustainably in the following years.

According to economic experts, although Vietnam still maintained a good export growth of 7 percent this year, high growth levels mainly concentrated on some industries that enterprises have foreign direct investment capital, including cell phones and components, computers and electronic components, equipment and spare parts.

Meanwhile, some key export industries of the country tended to be saturated and slow downed. For instance, the garment and textile industry targeted to achieve an export turnover of $40 billion but up to now it has merely reached $32 billion. Similarly, the target for footwear industry was $21.5 billion but actual export turnover was nearly $19 billion. The target for aquatic products was $10 billion but actual export turnover was more than $8 billion. The target for vegetables and fruits was $4.2 billion but actual export turnover was at $3.5 billion. The target for wood and wooden products was $11 billion but actual export turnover was more than $9 billion.

Mr. Nguyen Xuan Hong, chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Textile and Garment - Embroidery Association, said that the reform of administrative procedures and market expansion of relevant ministries and departments have initially created certain effects and keep growth momentum for export turnover. However, on the contrary, the entanglements in raw materials and specialized barriers continued to hold back domestic manufacturing activities.

He said that if key export industries of Vietnam, including garment and textile, footwear, plastic, food and foodstuff processing and mechanical engineering, keep depending on imported raw materials which account for 60 percent of the total raw materials as currently, it will be difficult to make breakthrough in export turnover in the following years.

Therefore, the Government needs to adjust investment attraction. Accordingly, there should be a priority policy for FDI enterprises that produce the materials that domestic enterprises currently have to import. At the same time, there should be more sanctions to force FDI enterprises to provide materials for domestic market share to avoid the situation that these FDI enterprises merely invest in Vietnam to make use of preferential advantages of the country.

The Central Institute for Economic Management suggested that the Government should increase post-inspection and strictly handle ministries and departments that have not seriously carried out administrative procedure reform, reduced specialized inspection procedures and put difficulties in the way of enterprises.

In fact, many ministries are announcing a reduction of 50 percent of specialized inspection procedures but actually having added more regulations and the category of goods subject to specialized inspection. Even, some ministries that did not have specialized commodity inspection before, now issue a list of goods subject to specialized inspection.

By Ai Van – Translated by Thanh Nha

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