According to figures released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), during the opening three months of the year, import-export turnover of agro-forestry-fishery items reached US$15.2 billion, including US$9.06 billion from exports, equal to the same period last year, and US$6.2 billion from imports, an annual drop of 13.2%.
Elsewhere, trade surplus rose to nearly US$2.9 billion, representing a 48.9% increase in comparison with last year’s corresponding period.
Indeed, March alone saw the export value of key agricultural products reach approximately US$1.6 billion, with key forest products at US$1.1 billion and aquatic products standing at US$549 million.
Regarding the export market, the COVID-19 epidemic has served to shift the export of agricultural products to major markets and therefore change the landscape of where local products are sold to.
Most notably, the US received the lion’s share with an export turnover of US$2.1 billion, a rise of 18%, accounting for 23.2% of the overall market share. The US’ export turnover was followed by China at US$1.9 billion, the EU at US$1.2 billion, Japan at US$ 802 million, and other ASEAN member states at US$ 970 million.
The MARD believes that the export and import results seen during the first three months of the year represent a few bright spots in terms of the joint efforts to tackle technical barriers and boost market expansion. Moreover, they also serve to expand the recognition of production areas and types of products, bolster seafood exports to Saudi Arabia, and help export businesses to EU nations, the Eurasian Economic Union, the US, and Brazil.
During a recent online meeting hosted by the Vietnam Digital Agriculture Association discussing potential actions and possible solutions to issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Nguyen Quoc Toan, head of the MARD’s Department of Farm Produce Processing and Development said, “Currently, the structure of the export market is reversing, with the Chinese agricultural market forecast to rapidly recover in May, with the US and EU markets expected to rebound and record stronger exports in July and August.”
Due to shifts in markets abroad, it is anticipated that the domestic market will offer new opportunities for Vietnamese agricultural products due to local people shifting their consumption from using imported goods to locally made products, Toan noted.
Within the context of the raging epidemic, it is not possible for all businesses to overcome barriers. One of the difficulties facing the majority of firms is how to enjoy easier access to support capital from the government.
Vo Quan Huy, Director of Huy Long An Co., Ltd, suggested that the government could adopt incentive policies aimed at helping agricultural enterprises boost production and reinvigorate market development.