HA NOI (VNS)— Viet Nam's exports to ASEAN toppped US$17.08 billion in 2012, surging 25.7 per cent over the previous year.
The figure accounted for 14.9 per cent of the country's total export value last year, according to the General Department of Customs' statistics.
The strong growth was attributed to significant increases in value of key export items including computers and electronic products (up by $844 million), mobile phones and components ($750 million), rubber ($339 million), steel ($243 million), and coffee ($224 million).
However, exports of rice, which usually made up the largest ratio of the country's exports to ASEAN, were down by $518 million.
During the period, Viet Nam also imported $20.76 billion worth of goods from the bloc including oil and gas, motorbikes, automobiles, spare parts, steel and iron, representing a modest slump of 1 per cent.
Singapore remained Viet Nam's largest trading partner at $9.03 billion, making up 23.9 per cent of the country's total export earnings to the bloc.
It was followed by Thailand at $8.41 billion (22.2 per cent), Malaysia at $7.91 billion (20.9 per cent), Indonesia at $4.61 billion (12.2 per cent) and Cambodia at $ 3.32 billion (8.8 per cent).
Experts predicted that two-way trade between Viet Nam and ASEAN this year was likely to increase as Viet Nam continued to accelerate trade promotions in ASEAN and foreign businesses in the bloc continued looking for trade and investment opportunities in the country.
Cultural similarities had created favourable conditions for Vietnamese firms to better understand the tastes and demands of consumers in the bloc, experts said.
In order to foster exports to the bloc, experts have encouraged enterprises to take part in more trade fairs and exhibitions and update their knowledge of the market, while focusing on technical innovation to improve product quality.
A recent survey conducted by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council revealed that Viet Nam was the second most attractive investment destination in the region.
The survey questioned 405 business people and industry leaders, with 50 per cent selecting Indonesia as ASEAN's best investment destination, followed by Viet Nam with 46 per cent. — VNS