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Firms urged to exploit free trade deals

Update: June, 06/2012 - 10:30


Workers of the Thai Bao Co Ltd in the Nhon Hoa Industrial Zone in the central province of Binh Dinh make wood furniture for export. Businesses are being urged to take full advantage of free trade agreements to expand export markets. — VNA/VNS Photo Hong Ky
HA NOI — Businesses should take full advantage of free trade agreement (FTA) preferences to expand their export markets and product portfolios, a meeting held in Ha Noi heard on Monday.

Statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Import and Export Department showed that total export turnover through taking advantages of preferential tariffs from FTAs reached over US$5.5 billion in the first five months of this year, up 66 per cent over the same period last year. The ratio of exports to markets such as China, India and Laos remarkably increased.

However, due to the reliance on traditional export markets, Vietnamese enterprises faced difficulties when demand in these markets decreased. "In addition, if Myanmar opens its market, we will have tough competition," said Viet Nam Textile and Garment Association General Secretary Dang Phuong Dung.

Deputy General Director of the Viet Nam Textile and Garment Group Hoang Ve Dung added that industry growth in the first five months dropped by almost 50 per cent over the corresponding period last year.

"Although this is often the most favourable time of the year for export, textile companies can hardly find new orders," he said.

Sharing the same challenges, HCM City Handicraft and Wood Industry Association Vice President Tran Quoc Manh stated that trade promotion budget for the timber industry had been drastically cut.

The Trade Promotion Department said this year's budget was cut to only VND15 billion ($710,200). "Although it was lifted to VND40 billion ($1.9 million), it was still too little."

The department has called on the Government for support, and will add funding to key projects such as textile and wood items.

Meanwhile, Director of the Export and Import Department Phan Van Chinh noted that merchandise exports still experienced high growth thanks to the contribution of the processing sector.

Export turnover of this sector fetched $26.13 billion in the first five months of this year, rising 35.6 per cent over the same period last year and accounting for over 60 per cent of total exports. — VNS

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