Import surplus is one of the major problems that Vietnam and China need to address in the coming time.
According to experts, Vietnam-China trade ties have grown through two phases, the first phase was from 1991 to 2000, following the normalization of bilateral relations. During that period, trade turnover between the two countries increased from US$300 million to US$2.9 billion. Vietnam exported minerals, farm produce and seafood to China and imported mainly consumer goods from the country.
In recent years, Vietnam’s trade turnover has increased sharply from US$3 billion in 2001 to US$41.2 billion in 2012 with its import surplus hovering between US$210 million and US$16.3 billion, mainly in terms of input materials for industrial production and export outsourcing.
Dao Viet Hoa, vice consul general in charge of trade activities from Vietnam’s consulate in Nanning, granted an exclusive interview to a VOV online reporter on the Vietnam-China trade economic development.
Reporter: To keep import-export activities in balance, what is Vietnam supposed to do?
Ms Hoa: To improve the import surplus for the national economy, the Government has recently adjusted the Law on Investment to attract foreign investment to Vietnam, with a focus on such fields as oil refining, cement, iron and steel and construction materials.
It also issued preferential policies to attract foreign investment in support industries, for export outsourcing and to improve the value of Vietnamese exports. These moves aimed to make Vietnam less dependent on the import market and more active in reshaping its export pattern.
In terms of trade and economic co-operation, China has agreed to help Vietnam narrow its import surplus by creating favourable conditions for Vietnamese goods such as tropical farm produce and seafood to penetrate its market.
Meanwhile, Vietnam has encouraged China to invest in such fields as outsourcing and processing activities, to improve the value of Vietnamese exports to the Chinese and third-country markets.
It has asked China to select prestigious enterprises to participate in projects related to the five-year plan on economic and trade ties between Vietnam and China, which have been approved by both governments.
Vietnam will create favourable conditions for China to build industrial parks and export processing zones with a focus on providing input materials for industrial production and export outsourcing.
Reporter: Along with the establishment and development of an ASEAN-China free trade area, what is the prospect of trade and economic co-operation between Vietnam and China?
Ms Hoa: Vietnam and China have developed economic and trade relations since the establishment and development of the ASEAN-China free trade area.
Trade turnover between the two countries has grown stable and remains high despite the negative impacts of the global and regional economic downturn. With an average growth rate of over 20 percent, China has been Vietnam’s largest trade partner since 2004.
Vietnam’s key export items to China are tropical agricultural products with seafood accounting for more than 75 percent of its total volume.
The establishment of Long Giang and Viet Tham industrial parks has helped domestic businesses improve the value of goods for export.
Reporter: One of the important goals of the China-ASEAN Comprehensive Economic Co-operation agreement is to promote the exchange of goods and services and create an open and transparent investment mechanism. Has this goal been fulfilled or not?
Ms Hoa: The China-ASEAN Comprehensive Economic Co-operation agreement is focused on improving the competitive edge of goods exchanged between China and ASEAN while facilitating trade liberalization. Initial steps have been taken but they are still far from meeting the requirements of all concerned parties.
In my opinion, to bring the agreement into full play, it is necessary to disseminate information on the business community’s rights to be fulfilled within the framework of China-ASEAN trade area.
It is also necessary to create favourable conditions for trade promotion and exchange between Vietnam and China, as well as between ASEAN and China.
In addition, it is imperative to establish a website to help the business community and consumers benefit from the agreements signed within the framework of China-ASEAN trade area.