"From now to the end of this year, the volume of key exports like rice, fruit and seafood in Can Tho will be limited due to bad weather," Truong Quang Hoai Nam, Deputy Chairman of the Can Tho People's Committee, said at a meeting late last week with the city's Export Steering Committee.
"Can Tho should attract more export enterprises in garment, footwear, tobacco, manufacturing, and processed agricultural products to create jobs and develop the local economy," he said.
He said the city should strengthen logistics, expand credit and payment services and provide customs services to serve export enterprises to reduce expenditures and increase competitiveness.
"Such issues are known as weak points for Can Tho in comparison with HCM City and other localities," Nam added.
Only 39 enterprises complete export procedures at Can Tho Customs Department while 142 enterprises do so in other provinces.
The city plans to invite logistics companies to invest in the city, and open Cai Cui port with capacity of 10,000-tonne ships.
"If we can bring 10,000-tonne ships to Cai Cui port through Quan Bo Chanh channel to directly receive imports and exports, expenditures will significantly decline," he added.
According to the Can Tho Industry and Trade Department, since the beginning of July, the rice export situation in the city has improved as local enterprises have signed more contracts.
From now to the end of this year, the price for rice and seafood exports will improve thanks to the Christmas and New Year season.
"Rice capacity for three crops in Can Tho is expected to reach 1.4 million tonnes, 100,000 tonnes higher than the 2016 plan. This will be enough to export," Nguyen Ngoc He, Director of the Agriculture and Rural Development Department, said.
He also said that the area and volume of seafood had fallen in comparison with the same period last year because of low prices, especially for catfish. But capacity could reach the same volume as last year if prices increase.
Fruit areas have increased 9.24 percent by 15,800 hectares as local residents have invested more in gardens and eco-tourism. "Raw materials for fruit exports will be enough," He said.
According to the Can Tho's Industry and Trade Department, for the first seven months of this year, the city earned US$891.2 million from exports and services that were paid in foreign currency, making up 54% of the yearly plan.
Of that amount, export turnover was US$686.2 million, about 47% of the 2016 plan, and foreign currency earnings (sea transport, insurance, international telecommunications, international payment transactions, overseas currency exchange) totalled US$205 million, passing the US$180 million target expected for the year.
An increase in foreign-exchange collections has compensated for a decline in key export products like rice, seafood and garments.
For the year, the city plans to reach total export value and foreign currency earnings of US$1.65 billion, with foreign currency collections accounting for US$300 million.