Vietnam eyes $300 bln exports in 2020

By Anh Tu   December 30, 2019 | 08:01 pm PT
Vietnam eyes $300 bln exports in 2020
A farmer harvests rice at a paddy field in Hanoi. Photo by Reuters/Kham.
Vietnam targets its export revenues of $300 billion next year despite concerns over trade deficits amid a global economic slump.

The target, announced by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at an online meeting with leaders of cities and provinces on Monday, means exports would need to rise by 13.8 percent from this year’s $263.5 billion to give the country a trade surplus for the fifth year in a row.

It would mean a higher growth rate than the 8 percent recorded this year.

"After a subsidy period, Vietnam turned into a major global exporter. The country now has most products in excess and can find a market to sell them," the PM said.

Although Vietnam in 2019 recorded the fourth trade surplus in a row at $9.94 billion, government officials worry the winning spree would be broken by a deficit next year.

Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh told the National Assembly in November as growth in exports slow to 6-7 percent in 2020, and imports grow at a faster rate of 8-10 percent, there could be a minor trade deficit.

The coming into force of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the worsening impact of the U.S.-China trade war could lead to a surge of imports into Vietnam next year, according to a government report submitted to the legislative body.

PM Phuc demands all government bodies create favorable conditions for exporters and cease any bureaucratic activity that could hinder the process.

The country needs to reduce logistics costs to increase exports value, he added, citing the case of mango export as an exported Vietnamese mango now bears a logistics cost of 50 percent its price.

Vietnam’s GDP growth of 7.02 percent in 2019 exceeded the parliament’s target of 6.6-6.8 percent as well as forecasts by several international organizations like World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

The country’s foreign trade for the first time reached $517 billion this year, up 8 percent year-on-year.

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