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What’s behind the Export Targets?
23 | 10 | 2007
The Ministry of Industry and Trade recently hosted a meeting in Ho Chi Minh City with businesses in southern Vietnam. The Vietnam Economic News’ Phung Long spoke with Nguyen Thanh Bien, the Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade.
What kind of plan's been made to increase exports in 2008?

Vietnam hopes to lower its trade deficit and it does expect its gross domestic product (GDP) to exceed eight percent in 2008. We'd like to see export revenue go up at least 22 percent compared to 2007. We have set a 2008 export revenue target at US$58.6 billion. This can be reached if we work on increasing key export products, those that bring in the most export revenue. In the process, more jobs will be created. Social problems will be addressed if possible. Production of those kinds of products for which domestic material resources can be utilized is to be encouraged.

What are the export targets for Vietnam's bigger export markets?

Exports to Asian countries are to exceed US$23.5 billion (19.2 percent more than in 2007) with the bulk of that going to Japan and ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) countries. The target we've set for exports to European countries is US$11.7 billion (22.8 percent higher than in 2007). We'd like to see more shipped to the EU, Russia, and the Ukraine. Exports to America are expected to total about US$14.7 billion (26 percent over 2007), most of this (US$13.1 billion) going to the US (an increase of 28 percent over 2007). For exports to Africa, West and South Asian countries we've set a number of US$2.2 billion (an increase of 20 percent over 2007).

How do you get these numbers?

Targets are set after considering the export revenue of 2007, which is predicted to be US$48.1 billion. In the first nine months of 2007, Vietnam’s export revenue was US$35.2 billion. Target setters also take into consideration our World Trade Organization (WTO) membership, our renovation policies, the efforts of businesses, and especially how much foreign direct investment (FDI) capital is coming into Vietnam.

What is done to hit these targets once they're set?

There are some basic things that can be done. First of all, we have to produce more, faster, and in a sustainable manner. Support industries are needed to supply input material for production. Increasing the added value of export products is something we definitely would like to do. In addition, investors have to be found to expand production of key export products. More sci-tech products should be produced and exported. Somehow the quality of products being exported has got to improve. There is a trade promotion activity plan for the 2006 to 2010 time period, but that could be improved for each category of products as well as for each export market. The focus will continue to be on the EU, USA and Japan, but also potential markets such as Russia, Africa and the Middle East. The Vietnamese Government will be trying to get other countries to trust Vietnamese food products and accept our technical and food hygiene standards as well as our quarantine system to avoid having Vietnamese export products locked out of foreign countries due to health and safety violations.

 Successful Vietnamese businesses activity will allow the 2008 export targets to be reached. What kind of assistance can businesses expect to get from the Government?

The Government will be providing support to our businesses. The Ministry of Industry and Trade has asked for businesses' opinions about the problems they are facing. This would be in worker training, leasing land, getting bank loans and filling out customs forms. The Ministry of Industry and Trade will work with all the government authorities to help businesses with any problems they may have. We have asked customs officials to report to the Government any problems that businesses are having related to import/export procedures so that the situation can be improved.

What advice do you have for exporters?

When Vietnam negotiated for WTO membership, Vietnam has obtained many preferences including the ones related to the origin of the export products. Vietnamese exporters should be aware of such preferences. In addition, they should not concentrate on one market or export just one kind of product. They should be working with a number of export products and export markets.



Source: VEN
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