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With a turnover of $US 25.5 billion, China is the biggest trading partner of Vietnam

08:59 | 16/05/2017

VCN- The total value of imports and exports between Vietnam and China continues to increase. Notably, Vietnam's exports to the Chinese market are much higher than imports.

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Imports and exports at Tan Thanh, Lang Son - a key area of trade relations with China. Photo: Thai Binh.

Exports increased by nearly 41%

With the total value of imports and exports reaching $US 25.496 billion (according to data of the General Department of Vietnam Customs at the end of April 2017), China continues to be the biggest trading partner of Vietnam. The growth rate increased by more than 23% compared to the same period in 2016.

Especially, Vietnam's exports to China in the first 4 months of the year saw a strong growth of nearly 41%, reaching a total value of $US 8.324 billion. China is the Vietnam's second largest export market (after the United States).

A high growth in exports to China occurred in the context of export activities flourishing in Vietnam in the first months of the year. However, the export growth rate in this market is nearly 2.5 times higher than the national average. It is also a noteworthy information (export growth of Vietnam in the first four months reached 16.8 %).

China is currently the largest export market for some of Vietnam's most important commodities, particularly agricultural products and some electronic products.

For fruits and vegetables, in the first four months of 2017, Vietnam exports to China reached $US 759 million, an increase of 31.4% compared to the same period last year and accounted for 74.3% of the total export turnover of vegetables and fruits of Vietnam.

Another noteworthy information is that by the end of April 2017, Vietnam had the first "billion dollars" exported commodities to China, a difference compared to the same time in 2016. They included computers, electronic products and components with a value of nearly $US 1.8 billion, an increase of 108% compared to the first 4 months of 2016 and accounted for nearly 24.4% of the total export turnover of Vietnam.

Need initiatives in production and export

Import and export activities between Vietnam and China are showing positive signs, especially the growth of export. However, in trade relations with China, Vietnam is still heavily dependent.

Regarding trading activities between Vietnam and China, Assoc. Prof. Pham Tat Thang, the senior research fellow (the Ministry of Industry and Trade) said that an undeniable fact was that Vietnam had borders with the largest population market in the world with huge purchasing power. However, China is also the largest factory in the world. Therefore, Vietnam has an advantage in exporting goods, but it is also under pressure in trade relations with its neighbouring country (importing Chinese goods).

Assoc. Prof. Pham Tat Thang analysed that Vietnam's advantage is to deliver goods that are strong and suitable for the Chinese market, especially agricultural products. On the other hand, the Chinese market also has quality requirements that are not so strict as many other major markets.

At the same time, Vietnam also has favourable conditions for exporting through minor border routes.

However, these advantages may soon disappear. Because China is tightening its WTO import and export standards, especially restricting imports through the trails and minor routes. Also, Vietnam can regulate the flow of imported and exported goods according to the development needs of China. And so, Vietnamese goods into China will be more difficult”, Assoc. Prof. Pham Tat Thang said.

Therefore, despite the export activities of Vietnam to China have a high growth but still not sustainable. Because China used to massively buy some items but then stopped buying suddenly, and pushed Vietnam into the passive position.

A senior researcher from the Ministry of Industry and Trade said that the surplus of pork was a typical example. In fact, China may help Vietnam "rescue" the situation of the surplus of pork but it will have conditions in return.

According to Assoc. Prof. Pham Tat Thang, these disadvantages derive from some basic causes. Firstly, the quality and design of Vietnamese are limited, so it is not easy to approach many other markets in the world. And Vietnam is heavily dependent on a market, so exports are always passive.

One other weakness noted by experts is that Vietnam has not yet fully grasped its consumption of goods in the Chinese market. "We just transport the goods to the border, but we do not know consumers, distribution channel, resulting in the production of goods, not matchingChinese consumers’ demand. And the damage goes to the farmers and the producers”, Assoc. Prof. Pham Tat Thang shared.

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In order to overcome the above limitations and take advantage of the world's largest consumer market (China), Assoc. Prof. Pham Tat Thang said that Viet Nam's core issue was to reorganise, produce, manage, operate and promote trade in a systematic, active and effective manner associated with raising the model, quality of goods and diversifying export markets.

By Thai Binh/ Hoang Anh