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Impressive import and export growth in 2021

20:33 | 18/01/2022

VCN - Over 35 years from the renovation period, Vietnam's import and export of goods has gradually achieved impressive results, setting the threshold from US$500 billion in import and export turnover to more than US$600 billion only after 2 years. Vietnam has been gradually realizing the goals of sustainable export-import development and trade surplus.

Commodity export marked in 2011-2020: From trade deficit to trade surplus Commodity export marked in 2011-2020: From trade deficit to trade surplus
Changing agricultural economic thinking, taking value as a measure Changing agricultural economic thinking, taking value as a measure
Việt Nam's agriculture sector gains export growth in H1 Việt Nam's agriculture sector gains export growth in H1
Loading and unloading goods at Dinh Vu port (Hai Phong). Photo: VNA
Loading and unloading goods at Dinh Vu port (Hai Phong). Photo: VNA

Shortening the "jump" to set a record

Among Vietnam's export industries, the textile and garment industry is particularly impressive. This industry has not only made an impression over nearly 30 years of continuous growth in export turnover (except in 2020), but also had the process of production development, import and export of textiles and garments have accompanied the ups and downs of import and export of Vietnamese goods in general.

After 21 years of renovation, in 2007, Vietnam's import and export surpassed the first mark of US$100 billion. Then, in the 2008-2015 period, every four years, import and export increased by US$100 billion. From 2016 to 2021, every 2 years, import and export increased by US$100 billion. In particular, in the two years of 2020, and 2021, despite the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Vietnamese economy and the world economy, Vietnam's import and export still increased by US$100 billion. As of December 15, Vietnam's import-export turnover reached US$633 billion.

Talking to Customs News at the end of 2021, Mr. Truong Van Cam, Vice President and General Secretary of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas) said: “The textile and garment industry has increased very quickly from being an insignificant export sector, to integrating with the region and the world, signing a series of FTAs.”

The Vice Chairman of the Association emphasized the milestone when Vietnam signed a trade agreement with the US in 2000, textile and garment exports reached US$2.1 billion.

Then, when Vietnam joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2007, textile and garment exports reached US$7.8 billion. After 2020, facing many difficulties due to Covid-19, the whole year of 2021 textile and garment exports are forecasted to reach the target of US$39 billion, up 11.2% compared to 2020 and up 0.3% compared to 2019.

“Playing a decisive role in promoting Vietnam's textile and garment exports is the process of international economic integration. The signing and implementation of a series of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) expanded the export market for Vietnam's textile and garment industry in particular as well as the economy in general,” said Mr. Cam.

Similar to the textile and garment industry, Vietnam's exports have been gradually developing at an early stage, progressing towards impressive growth. Dr. Le Quoc Phuong, former Deputy Director of the Information Center for Industry and Trade (Ministry of Industry and Trade), said that when Vietnam started its economic renovation in 1986, the total import-export turnover was only about US$1 billion. After 35 years of strong growth, this figure has reached over US$600 billion in 2021.

“Notably, the time for Vietnam's import and export to increase by US$100 billion is getting shorter and shorter. This is a very fast and positive speed, showing that Vietnam's import and export has now developed very strongly, reaching a very large scale. From an export market perspective, at first, Vietnam only had import-export activities with a few main countries in the former Soviet bloc, but now import-export has been done with most of the 240 economies in the world,” said Le Quoc Phuong.

Harmonizing short-term and long-term goals

Affirming that Vietnam's import and export sector has achieved impressive results, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pham Tat Thang, Senior Researcher of the Institute of Strategy and Policy of Industry and Trade (Ministry of Industry and Trade) repeatedly affirmed that outstanding shortcomings and limitations were still noted.

Typically, the export of goods depends too much on the FDI sector. The role of domestic enterprises in export had improved but not as expected. The link between domestic enterprises and FDI enterprises had not been clearly shown.

“Notably, Vietnam’s policy is to consider small and medium enterprises and private enterprises as the driving force for economic development. Meanwhile, looking at the import-export structure, it can be seen that this component’s participation is not worthy, not really the driving force for exports,” Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pham Tat Thang said.

Regarding the limitations and weaknesses in import and export in recent years, especially in the past 10 years, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said that export growth reached a high speed but was not really sustainable in the medium and long term. Hidden risks can affect stable export growth. Those risks come from the imbalance in the trade balance with other markets; the imbalance in the export market; the imbalance in the structure of export enterprises and the imbalance in the structure of export goods.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan said that Vietnam's agricultural exports increased but are not sustainable. There is no sustainable export strategy or project for each type of export market.

“Currently, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is developing a sustainable agricultural export project, in consultation with many units, including the Vietnam Trade Office in foreign countries. In order to export agricultural products sustainably, there is still a lot of work to be done, not until the new season to collect agricultural products for export, but to start from a standardized raw material area, improvement of logistics infrastructure, brand construction of agricultural products,” the leader of the agricultural sector said.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has determined that in the 2021-2030 period, the goal is to develop sustainable imports-exports on the basis of ensuring harmonious combination of short-term and long-term goals, in which focus is on improving the quality of goods and services, as well as the high quality of import-export growth, effectiveness and sustainability of development.

“Besides, develop a balance and harmony in the structure of export and import goods, the structure of the export and import markets and the balance of trade in goods to ensure sustainability on the basis of effective implementation of commitments in FTAs, especially new-generation FTAs,” said a representative of the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Assoc. Dr. Pham Tat Thang said, first of all, the State should have policies and an environment for sustainable export growth, towards a balance of trade.

In this stage, the important point is to remove procedures that cause difficulties for enterprises and hinder their development. Enterprises should focus on investing in high technology and linking to create value chains, in which enterprises must play the role of a "conductor" in import and export.

“Another important factor in the future is the need to receive FDI projects selectively in order to substantially improve competitiveness and produce goods,” Assoc. Dr. Pham Tat Thang said.

By Thanh Nguyen/ Binh Minh