China doesn’t seek trade surplus with Vietnam, says new envoy

By Viet Anh, Hong Hanh   November 27, 2018 | 02:29 am PT
China doesn’t seek trade surplus with Vietnam, says new envoy
Porters load bags of dried longan fruit onto a truck in preparation for export to China at Dong Dang town, on the border with China, in Vietnam's northern Lang Son. Photo by Reuters/Kham
China is not looking to chase a surplus and create a trade imbalance with Vietnam, new Chinese ambassador reiterates.

It is aware of the problem and is taking steps to deal with the situation, Xiong Bo, the newly appointed ambassador to Vietnam, told VnExpress.

Vietnam's trade deficit with China in the first ten months this year was $20 billion, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The deficit in 2017 was more than $22.7 billion, and in 2016, $28 billion.

Vietnam mostly imports machinery, component parts, electronics products, fertilizer, coal, tobacco material and fresh fruits, while exporting low value products like rubber, fruits, wood, and rice.

Ambassador Bo noted that Vietnam was China’s biggest trade partner in Southeast Asia and eighth biggest in the world. But the trade balance between Vietnam and China is something that should be taken into consideration, Xiong Bo acknoweldged.

He told VnExpress that the main reason for the deficit was the difference in the economic models between Vietnam and China.

"China does not want to chase after trade surplus and create deficits for Vietnam and has applied methods to deal with the situation," he said.

China supports Vietnam in establishing trade promotion centers on its land and gives priority for Vietnam in trade exhibitions and fairs, he added.

Early this month, Vietnam was invited to attend the China International Import Expo (CIIE) 2018 as an honored guest.

In a meeting with Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on the sidelines of the CIIE, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that his country doesn’t want to pursue a trade surplus with Vietnam, and will increase imports from Vietnam towards achieving more balanced and sustainable bilateral trade.

Attending the CIIE, Prime Minister Phuc said: "As Vietnam is seeing a great trade deficit with China, you [Chinese businesses] should import more products from Vietnam, starting with agricultural products, to balance bilateral trade."

Vietnam-China trade reached $93.69 billion last year, up 30.2 percent from 2016. Vietnam earned $35.46 billion from exports to China, up 61.5 percent, while spending $58.22 billion on imports from the country, up 16.4 percent, according to Vietnam's General Statistics Office.

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