Vietnam: A hollow that swallows ASEAN goods

By Ha Phuong, Thu Hoai   August 29, 2016 | 06:14 pm PT
“Is this a risk to our country?” Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue questioned.

Vietnam experienced a trade deficit with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries in the first seven months of 2016.

After seven months of being a part of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), a regional single market, Vietnam saw a trade deficit of $3.6 billion with ASEAN countries, Vuong Dinh Hue said in a meeting August 26. The biggest trade deficit was recorded with Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

It took Thailand seven months to surpass two car manufacturers China and Korea to win the heart of Vietnamese importers, Hue quoted from data of Vietnam customs.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Tran Quoc Khanh doubted whether Vietnam can gain benefit from both ASEAN and ASEAN+ markets since almost all partners have similar economic structure as Vietnam. 

In recent years, several free trade agreements between Vietnam and big economic communities have been reached, while domestic firms still tie themselves into knots. FDI firms have shown their well-adaptive manner by quickly taking advantage of tax deductions and incentives. In that case, Tran Quoc Khanh suggested the government should encourage big domestic companies such as dairy producers Vinamilk and TH True Milk, and seafood giant Minh Phu to broaden their investment overseas.

Speaking of Vietnam’s stance in the global playing field, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment urged Vietnamese companies to enhance their competitiveness or else “we will lose right at our home, not to mention the upcoming Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).”

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