VNBusinessNews.com – The Government will continue to control the import of luxury goods such as automobiles, mobile phones, and cosmetics to curb the trade deficit, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Bui Xuan Khu has said.
Speaking at a meeting held in Ha Noi on Monday by his ministry, he said the central bank had been ordered to stop lending to import luxury goods.
Many firms still bought US dollars on the black market to import the goods, including automobiles, he said, adding the ministry needed to co-ordinate with the Market Management Department and Export-Import Department to hand out heavier penalties to curb the practice.
His ministry colleague, Deputy Minister Nguyen Thanh Bien, said companies needed to step up export of agricultural products like rice, pepper, coffee, and cashews, which account for a large portion of Viet Nam’s exports.
The Export-Import Department and industry associations should buy agricultural produce from farmers now and store them for export next year so that there would be no price shocks next year, he said.
Reducing the trade deficit, along with promoting manufacturing growth, is one of the ministry’s main goals to mitigate the effects of the economic crisis.
Another deputy trade minister, Do Huu Hao, said firms should focus on expanding production while improving the quality of their products and reducing costs to match the competitiveness of their foreign rivals.
Viet Nam’s industrial production rose this year at the slowest rate in the last decade, he said.
An important factor in speeding up the rate was ensuring adequate supply of electricity to manufacturers, he said.
The ministry would co-ordinate with the Electricity of Viet Nam and other agencies to speed up acquisition and clearance of land for power projects, he assured.
Another important task was to buy coal quickly from other countries for power stations, he added.
A delegate from the Textile and Garment Corporation said his company had a large volume of export orders but was unable to produce enough because of a shortage of workers and raw materials.
Textiles and garments continue to account for a large proportion of Viet Nam’s exports.
The Wood Processing Association said the industry faced difficulties because 80 per cent of its raw material needed to be imported and there was a severe labour shortage