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City aims for more exports

Update: January, 07/2012 - 10:30

HCM CITY — Export restructuring will continue in HCM City until 2015, with an emphasis on more service exports, according to officials speaking at a seminar held yesterday in HCM City.

Huynh Khanh Hiep, deputy director of the city's Department of Industry and Trade, said by the end of 2020, the city aimed to have service exports to be 60 per cent of total export turnover.

The city targeted an average export growth of 17 per cent per year in the 2011-15 period, with total export turnover by the end of 2015 of more than US$100 billion (excluding crude oil).

More staff would be trained for service export activities as well.

Export support programmes on software products and services will be continued, with the aim of enhancing added value, from software outsourcing to production activities.

Many export support programmes will be implemented, including the expansion of e-custom procedures, support-industry development, and the construction of an export-goods introduction centre.

In general, the city's export turnover is on a recovery trend and has had a fairly good growth rate.

Last year, despite economic difficulties, the city's export turnover (excluding crude oil) reached $19.73 billion, an increase of 21.7 per cent compared to 2010.

The US, ASEAN, the EU, Japan and China were still key markets for the city's key export items, such as agricultural, textiles and garments, seafood, computers and electronic parts, Hiep said.

In 2010, the Asian region accounted for a large proportion (62.6 per cent), thanks to a Free Trade Agreement between ASEAN and China. This was followed by Europe (33.52 per cent) and the Americas (20.53 per cent).

Nguyen Cam Trang of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Import-Export Department said Vietnamese exporters should create more innovative technology products to increase productivity and quality.

"Viet Nam should increase exports of industrial goods, together with exports of processed agricultural products, instead of exports of more agricultural raw materials," she said.

The country should also focus on developing a supporting industry to add more value to export commodities. Infrastructure and logistics development were also critically important.

Exporters should expand beyond traditional markets, she said, adding that more trade promotions should be held to help domestic businesses set up distribution channels and build networks.

Bui Thi Thanh An, head of the HCM City office for the Viet Nam Trade Promotion Agency, said exporters should be more active in participating in international exhibitions and seek partners to increase business transactions.

Companies should also schedule more business trips to survey foreign markets.

An said that companies should also focus on ASEAN member countries, China, Japan, the US, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India.

For Japan, they should increase exports of seafood, textiles and garments, furniture, footwear and agricultural products.

Challenges

At the seminar, Prof Dr Vo Thanh Thu, a member of the Viet Nam International Arbitration Council, noted that one of the major challenges for the export industry was to redue its heavy dependence on imported raw materials.

The textile and garment sector imports nearly 60 per cent of its raw materials, and the footwear and electronic industry imports 90 per cent.

Every year, the seafood sector spends about $500 million for raw material imports.

Each key sector exports to more than 100 countries, but the US, the EU and Japan account for more than 60 per cent of export turnover.

If these markets applied strict trade protection measures or trade barriers, the country's exports would be damaged heavily.

Another challenge for the export sector is the small scale of many companies, which makes it difficult to access the world market and hinders the development of the support industry.

Thu said that Viet Nam should pay more attention to forecasting, including demand-supply, price fluctuation, the world economy, and the impact of free trade agreements on domestic trade activities.

Hiep also said that a large number of primary commodities were exported as raw materials, and Viet Nam's outsourced-based exports had low added value.

High interest rates and an unstable exchange-rate policy were also worrisome issues for Vietnamese exporters. — VNS

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