The ministry said in the first two months, export value grew 15.4% to US$27.3 billion, including US$7.6 billion from wholly State-owned enterprises, up 12.2%, and US$19.7 billion from foreign invested firms, up by 16.8% against the same period last year.
Notably, the processing industry achieved a year-on-year surge of 15.5% in export value to US$22 billion, accounting for 80.6% of the total national export value. Meanwhile, farming, forestry and fishery export value reached US$3.2 billion, 9.9% higher than the same period last year, accounting for 11.4% of the total value.
The high export value growth in the first two months of 2017 is particularly significant given the relatively low 2.0% growth during the same period last year and failure to reach a two-digit value growth rate in 2016, the ministry said.
Moreover, average export prices increased sharply during the first two months, including cashew (20.3%), coffee (31.9%), crude oil (61.9%), rubber (81%) and coal (115.5%). However, the export prices of farming, forestry and fishery products dropped.
The increase in export prices contributed to a surge of US$736 million in total export value during the two months against the same period last year, the ministry’s representative said. Export value of textiles and garments in the first two months also rose by 12.2% to US$3.66 billion year-on-year.
Le Tien Truong, general director of the Vienam Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex), said many Vinatex businesses had obtained stable long-term orders for the second quarter and beyond.
Total export value of textile and garments this year was expected to increase by 6.5%-7% to US$30 billion, Truong said, with US and Japan its major markets.
The ministry said the imports of some products experienced strong growth during the first two months of this year.
The import growth of products such as under-nine-seat vehicles, mobile phones, vegetables and fruits, could impact the general trade balance.
In the first two months, Vietnam spent US$153 million to import 9,500 complete-built-units of under-nine-seat vehicles, a year-on-year increase of 139.6%, while import value surged by 129% for mobile phones and 129.8% for vegetables and fruits.
These imports partly contributed to a 20 percent increase in total import value to US$27.4 billion in the two months, the ministry said.
The nation had a trade deficit of US$46 million in the first two months, it said, US$3.5 billion for local enterprises and US$3.4 billion for foreign companies.
Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh praised the high export growth, but urged enterprises to focus on sustainable export development.
He said enterprises should focus on diversifying export products and markets to avoid dependence on products which have the advantage of cheap workers and on markets which have the benefit of free trade deals.
“We must re-organise production to ensure competitive ability, especially competitive ability based on factors adding value, such as technology and labour productivity,” the minister said.
To limit the trade deficit and control imports, the ministry said the State should have solutions to control the fast-growing import of such products as mobile phones, scrap steel, under-nine-seat automobiles and precious metals, as well as vegetables and fruits.