Vietnam’s exports maintained a positive growth rate in the first five months of 2021. However, specific measures are required to promote exports given the resurgence of Covid-19 in Vietnam and similar developments in other countries.
Increased export turnover
According to the General Statistics Office of Vietnam, the country’s exports reached an estimated US$130.94 billion in the first five months of the year, an increase of 30.7 percent compared to a year ago.
The domestic sector contributed US$33.06 billion and the FDI sector (including crude oil) US$97.88 billion, a year-on-year increase of 16.6 percent and 36.3 percent, respectively.
During the reviewed period, some 22 products recorded an export value of over US$1 billion each, accounting for 87.3 percent of the country’s total export turnover.
Tran Thanh Hai, deputy director of the Agency of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting Vietnam’s import-export activities.
Since mid-2020, garment and textile, leather and footwear sectors have maintained their export growth despite supply disruptions, meaning that Vietnamese businesses have been active in seeking alternative supply sources of raw materials and have made good use of incentives provided by free trade agreements.
Authorities at all levels need to focus on protecting businesses and key border gates in order to ensure smooth import-export activities.
Vietnam also needs to avoid the application of large-scale social distancing measures in order to prevent disruptions to supply and production chains. In addition, it is necessary to facilitate business access to government support packages.
The Agency of Foreign Trade has asked regional export-import management offices to facilitate the issuance of certificates of origin (C/Os) for farm produce exports, with priority given to products in pandemic-affected areas and those in the harvest season. Export-import management offices in Hanoi, Hai Duong, Lang Son, Quang Ninh and Lao Cai have extended their work hours to Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays to handle C/O issuance. In addition, the Agency of Foreign Trade has requested export-import management offices on the northern border with China to closely monitor goods clearance and report to the agency when container trucks carrying Vietnamese farm produce exports are held up at border gates.
The European-American Market Department, the Asia-Africa Market Department, the Agency of Foreign Trade, and Vietnamese trade offices abroad are required to keep up-to-date with information about the Covid-19 pandemic, which could affect Vietnam’s economic cooperation and import-export activities. They have also been asked to provide support for businesses in seeking alternative supply sources of raw materials to stabilize domestic production. The head of the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade sent letters to the heads of the Lao Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce, and the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China, asking for close coordination in implementing goods clearance to prevent the pandemic’s spread and facilitate circulation.