2016 has seen many milestones with Vietnam signing free trade deals which have benefited its economy.
Although export revenues in key industries like garments and textiles, leather footwear, and farm produce have fallen short of set targets, businesses have generally fared well despite global economic difficulties.
Vietnam’s total import-export revenue is estimated to grow up to 7.5% in 2016 reaching approximately US$170 billion. Though export growth has been steady, it remains 10% below the set target, mainly because of a sharp decline in prices for crude oil, processed products, and other exports.
Garments and textiles, one of Vietnam’s key export sectors, has not been spared.
Phan Thi Thanh Xuan, Secretary General of Vietnam’s Leather, Footwear, and Handbag Association, said “The sector’s turnover has been hurt by the sharp decline of key import markets like the EU, particularly the UK. We have targeted a growth of 10% and a revenue of more than US$16 billion for 2016, but it’s likely to achieve only 8%.”
Although the export target for this year hasn’t been reached, several new products have seen high growth rates, including fruits and vegetables, up 30% from last year; confectionary, 17%; and cattle-feed, 17%. Coffee, cashew nuts, pepper, and seafood. For instance, Vietnam’s tra fish is now available in 140 markets, four markets more than last year. Exports to the US, the biggest market for Vietnamese tra fish, has reached US$360 million, 20% of the total export value.
“Our solutions to boost growth are linked to improving quality and productivity. The government has put forth many measures, especially for agriculture, to promote start-ups and high-tech application in the agricultural sector. Other sectors like industry and service have also made great efforts to restructure and improve their institutions,” said economist Luu Bich Ho.
Tran Thanh Hai, Deputy Director of the Exports-Imports Department of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said Vietnam’s 7% growth rate is an achievement.
“On top of market expansion, we should focus on taking up the products in which we have an advantage on the world map. 5 years ago Vietnam had no known name in technology or the cell phone assembly industry. But now we are becoming widely recognized. As a result, we should identify which export items are suitable for development,” said Hai.