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Vietnam to Obtain 14-15 per cent Export Growth to ASEAN This Year
13 | 09 | 2007
Vietnam’s exports to ASEAN member countries are estimated to post a growth of 14-15 per cent this year from US$6.3 billion in 2006, said the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT).
Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) vice chairman Hoang Van Dung said the majority of local enterprises are paying attention to other traditional markets such as the EU, the US and Japan.

“These traditional markets are demanding greater deals of Vietnamese products than those being consumed by ASEAN countries. That helps enterprises focus on massive production rather than small-scale manufacturing,” Dung said.
“Local firms' interest in ASEAN inner-trading is still small, which results in Vietnam's low exports to the market,” he said.

The 0-5 per cent tariffs cut to the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), in which Vietnam became a member in 1995, had not yet encouraged local firms to boost their exports to the region, Dung said, adding that Vietnamese enterprises have taken advantage of low tariff rates to boost their imports from ASEAN suppliers but still ignore opportunities to expand shares in the market.
Local firms spent nearly US$14 billion on ASEAN products last year, according to the MOIT.
The MOIT’s Department for Asia-Pacific Region reported that there remained a disparity in bilateral trade between Vietnam and ASEAN countries.

Local firms are mostly importing machinery, consumer goods and materials from other ASEAN countries. Machines and materials are used fur production and exporting of goods to other traditional markets rather than re-exporting to the ASEAN market.

Most of Vietnam's exports to the ASEAN market were raw materials and preliminary processed goods, which have no comparative advantage with similar goods produced by other ASEAN member countries both in terms of price and quality, the department said.
The majority of Vietnam's exports to ASEAN include crude oil, rice, seafood, fruit and vegetables, footwear, garment and textiles, wood products and electronic components.

In the first half of this year, Vietnam's exports to ASEAN member countries surged 32 per cent to US$3.8 billion and spent US$6.9 billion on imports, mainly machinery, equipment, fertilizers, chemicals and petroleum, up 18 per cent on-year.

The two-way trade between Vietnam and ASEAN bloc rose from US$3.49 billion in 1995 to US$18.9 billion in 2006, according to the GSO. However, Vietnam’s trade deficit with these countries climbed to US$6.18 billion in 2006 from US$2.26 billion in 2002. Vietnam often imports goods from ASEAN via Singapore due to low capacity of Vietnamese ships.

ASEAN now accounts for nearly 35 per cent of Vietnam’s total import turnover and 16 per cent of the total export market share.

(VIR, Vietnam Panorama)

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