Ministry moves to beef up production, exports

Vietnam has boosted exports to new markets over the last couple of months as part of solutions to tackle production and business difficulties and promote overseas shipments amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh has said.

ministry moves to beef up production, exports hinh 0
Processing of tra fish for exports. Illustrative photo. (Source: VNA)

In a recent interview with the Vietnam News Agency, Anh cited figures showing that in the first four months the country’s exports to America rose 22% year-on-year to US$19 billion, including Canada US$975 million (up 13%), Mexico US$798 million (61%), Brazil US$511 million (11%), and Chile US$287 million (93%). Shipments to Argentina also rose 55%, Colombia 93%, Panama 73%, and Peru 82%.

Vietnam also recorded strong growth in exports to markets such as China, worth US$9.35 billion (up 22.8%), Japan US$5 billion (7.8%), and Australia US$924 million (11.6%).

Markets with falling export revenue were primarily in Europe, which has been hit hard by COVID-19, he said, noting that exports during the period to the EU, including the UK, fell 5.7% from a year earlier to US$9.61 billion.

Goods shipped to France totalled US$771.6 million (down 19%), Italy US$758.7 million (down 17.4%), Spain US$551.6 million (down 6.4%), and the UK US$1.28 billion (down 6.6%).

Anh said that due to the pandemic, many importers in the US and in the EU delayed delivery or even cancelled orders as cities were placed on lockdown and people were requested to stay at home.

Stricter quarantine measures have affected logistics and customs clearance activities while the suspension of goods entering and exiting countries has also hampered transactions between Vietnamese companies and partners, he added.

To bolster exports, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has been pushing ahead with solutions to seek new markets, he noted, adding that it is working to resume trade with China, the Republic of Korea (RoK), and Japan, and is preparing to enforce the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) once it takes effect.

The MoIT has submitted to the Government a draft action plan on implementing the EVFTA that clarifies targets, main tasks, and relevant parties.

Anh said the ministry has also built trade promotion plans; assisted businesses to boost exports, especially to markets that may soon have the outbreak under control, like the RoK, Japan, and China; and has pressed on with online trade promotion activities.

To opportunely provide market information and remove obstacles facing exporters, the MoIT has set up mechanisms to ensure smooth contact via the internet among trade counsellors, the ministry’s departments, business associations, local trade promotion centres, and enterprises nationwide, he said.

Highlighting the domestic market’s importance, he pointed out that the potential from the country’s 90 million people hasn’t been fully tapped into.

The MoIT has directed relevant agencies to devise concrete plans and solutions to promote domestic trade, especially when the COVID-19 pandemic is over, he said, adding that the local market needs to be considered an important driving force of growth in 2020 and subsequent years.