The export value reached US$54.3 billion in the first quarter of 2018, up 22 percent compared with the same period last year. The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) forecasts exports will reach US$235.5 billion by the year’s end, a 10 percent increase over 2017.
In previous years, Vietnam often faced an export growth slowdown in the first quarter due to the Lunar New Year (Tet) holidays. This year, however, the first-quarter export results were satisfactory, paving the way for achievement of the annual growth target.
The MoIT forecasts industrial products exports will increase in the second quarter given the strong growth of production material imports in the first quarter. The production index of the entire industrial sector was up 11.6 percent in the first quarter compared with the same period last year. As usual, the third quarter is expected to record exports of industrial products with high export value, such as textiles and garments, footwear and wood products, while the export of agricultural and aquatic products is also forecast to increase. In the fourth quarter, the export value is predicted to continue rising due to high consumer demand for winter products and a variety of goods catering for Tet 2019.
Telephones topped the export list in the first quarter with value reaching an estimated US$12.33 billion, up 58.8 percent compared with the same period last year. These products are expected to remain at the top of Vietnam’s list of exports until the year’s end and contribute 20 percent to total export value.
Leather and footwear, key export products, are expected to benefit greatly from tariff preferences of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement after it is signed, probably later this year. Unlike its biggest rival in this export segment, China, Vietnam will benefit from 3.5-4.2 percent lower taxes when exporting footwear to the EU.
Despite favorable conditions, Vietnamese exports still face difficulties, including the EU’s yellow card against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU); anti-dumping taxes and the US pangasius inspection program targeted at Vietnamese shrimp and tra fish; and Saudi Arabia’s seafood import ban. Moreover, smear media campaigns against the quality of Vietnamese tra fish have been launched in the EU, China, Pakistan and Canada. The export of other products has also faced non-trade barriers created by different countries to protect domestic production.
The MoIT is therefore accelerating administrative reform to facilitate export activities. Along with promoting exports to traditional markets and those having signed free trade agreements (FTAs) with Vietnam, the ministry encourages businesses to seek new export markets. At the same time, the ministry provides businesses with information about regional integration and FTA rules of origin, as well as updated information about the domestic and global markets, to help them make the most of opportunities.
|The MoIT is forecasting that the 2018 export value of agricultural and aquatic products will reach US$27.4 billion, 6.1 percent higher compared with 2017; fuel and mineral exports are predicted to reach US$4.3 billion, down 1.4 percent; and processing industry-related products, US$194.5 billion, up 11.8 percent.|