In 2009, Vietnam’s export turnover is likely to drop by 10 percent over 2008 and the country is facing a trade deficit due to the impact of the global economic downturn.
Ass.Prof and Dr. Nguyen Tat Thang, a senior researcher from the Ministry of Industry and Trade has talked to the media on the issue.
Reporter: In the recent past, Vietnam’s falling export turnover has been attributed to a reduction in the price of export items. What should Vietnamese businesses do to increase export turnover?
Mr Thang: Vietnamese businesses need to explore all options to expand the existing markets and seek new markets without depending too much on traditional partners such as the US, the EU and Japan.Vietnamese businesses should pay attention to rapidly recovering markets in the Middle East, Oceania and Asia.
It is predicted that despite facing some ups and downs, the world economy spurt back to life if businesses focus on exploring traditional markets
Rubber promises to be a lucrative export item next year as currently nearly 80 percent of natural rubber is used for the automobile industry, which is forecast to flourish in 2010. Rice exports will also be a bright spot next year but the crux of the matter is how to be flexible in bidding activities so that rice can be sold at the bestprice.
Reporter: What should be done to help Vietnamese businesses sharpen the competitive edge?
Mr Thang: It is imperative to prevent some businesses from unhealthy competition and lowering selling prices to make a quick buck. In addition, there will be stricter market regulations next year. In the garment and textile sector, the quality of products designed by businesses will be measured by their popularity among consumers. In fact, when it comes to importers that require specific type of designs, businesses often fail to meet their demands. In order to solve this problem, major businesses must play a key role in designingproducts and sharing orders for manufactured goods with small businesses.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have informed businesses of the EU’s regulations on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Management agencies will have to strictly monitor the origin of products, enabling the seafood sector to secure its foothold in the EU market and increase its output.
Reporter: What has the Ministry of Industry and Trade done to support exporters in overcoming such barriers?
Mr Thang: In recent times, different ministries and sectors have conducted negotiations with other countries on the mutual recognition of quarantine regulations.
They have also provided businesses with information on barriers in different markets. Craft associations are trying their best to address issues related to capital provision for exporters. In addition, the State will help businesses carry out new projects by supporting them in applying new technologies and building their trademarks. Sectors and associations need to work more closely to create the best possible conditions for businesses to further develop while people should set up closer relations with them to tap the community’s strengths.
Reporter: How to ensure sufficient supply of materials for domestic production has been brought up for discussion but no progress has been made so far. Why so?
Mr Thang: Recently, more attention has been paid to developing the supporting industry to serve exports. However, the result is far from expected due to the different levels of technology and different standards of input-materials. Yet, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has asked businesses to produce new materials to reduce their dependence on the foreign market and raise the competitiveness ofVietnamese products.
Reporter: The recovery of the world economy in 2010 will be a good opportunity for exporters to maintain previous orders and place new ones. What is your assessment of theexport market next year?
Mr Thang: According to economic experts, the export market will see positive signs next year as the traditional markets such as the US, the EU, Japan and Russia will also bounce back. Aside from this, China has decided to reduce tax rates onproducts imported from ASEAN nations, therefore, making a stronger market for Vietnam.
Meanwhile, Thai investors will reduce their investment in Laos and Cambodia thus creating opportunities for Vietnamese products to enter these markets. Currently, regional countries are taking full advantage of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) on the reduction of tax rates on some items to help businesses achieve greater penetration of regional markets. Therefore,Vietnamese businesses should be more active in expanding regional markets thanks to preferential duties. VietNamNet/VOV