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Vietnamese import-export activities record impressive growth during 2020

Although the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic greatly affected global trade and investment, the nation ranked 22nd in the world in terms of turnover and export capacity, coming in 26th place in terms of the scale of international trade, a factor which looks set to add to momentum for breakthroughs relating to import and export activities moving forward.

Dr. Le Quoc Phuong, former deputy director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s (MoIT) Information Centre, notes that Vietnam currently ranks 26th out of 240 economies in the world in terms of export turnover, with an average export growth of over 20% annually over the past 35 years.

Most notably, the nation has several items ranking among the top five export products in the world, including rice, cashew nuts, coffee, textiles, footwear, and seafood, Dr. Phuong adds

Tran Thanh Hai, deputy director of the MoIT’s Import and Export Department, states that despite COVID-19 disrupting supply chains and leading to the cancellation of export orders, relevant ministries and sectors have moved to intensify trade promotion activities for businesses as they seek partners and outlets for their products.

This can be seen as several businesses have turned to producing essential goods such as face masks, gloves, as well as medical protective clothing for epidemic prevention and control activities in foreign markets, all of which has helped to accelerate exports, Hai emphasises.

According to experts, the robust export growth seen in 2020 has contributed to adding to the foreign currency revenue, thereby stabilising the macro-economy, expanding production, and attracting greater investment.

In contrast, economists have advised local firms to make radical reforms by restructuring sectors and trade promotion procedures, as well as improving product quality to seize upon opportunities presented through free trade agreements.

Dr. Phuong underscores the importance of improving the quality, added value, and competitiveness, as opposed to increasing export volume in the near future by turning to export hi-tech products, developing supporting industries, and building stronger brands for goods.

With the aim of increasing total export turnover by approximately 5% this year, the MoIT plans to make institutional reforms and handle issues related to trade protectionism, trade remedies, and the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on supply chains.

Furthermore, the Ministry will continue to focus on digital transformation in addition to developing new business models based on digital technologies such as e-commerce whilst enhancing the capability of local enterprises to participate in global value chains.

Hai says it is imperative to remove hurdles faced by firms to maximise benefits brought about by the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), as well as grasping information on rules of origin and other requirements set by foreign importers in an effort to increase exports in the future.

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