|Workers process pineapples at a local plant. Businesses are urged to focus on quality and food hygiene amid slump in farm produce exports. — Photo baocongthuong.com.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — The Ministry of Industry and Trade urged businesses to concentrate on free trade agreements' norms in quality and food hygiene amid slump in exports of agriculture, forestry and fisheries products.
Deputy Minister Tran Tuan Anh said at the ministry's monthly meeting yesterday that it would provide support for businesses to seek new export markets while enhancing competitiveness and expanding exports.
Yesterday's meeting heard that the country's trade deficit rose to US$3.9 billion in the first nine months of this year, in which the domestic firms ran up a deficit of $15.8 billion while the foreign-direct-investment sector posted a surplus of $11.9 billion.
Notably, exports of agriculture, forestry and fishery products declined 9.9 per cent over the same period last year to $15.14 billion. Products with huge drops included coffee and rice.
At the meeting, the Viet Nam Food Association said that rice exports were expected to recover from this quarter thanks to the rising demand of traditional markets.
Anh said the agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors must enhance quality and build brands.
According to Nguyen Tien Vy, head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Planning Department, domestic firms remained dependent on imported raw materials.
The ministry said that businesses should enhance the technology content and improve the local procurement rates.
At yesterday's meeting, the ministry also asked the Electricity of Viet Nam to raise measures to lower the energy elasticity to gross domestic products (GDP).
Energy elasticity was the percentage change in energy consumption to achieve one per cent change in national GDP.
The energy elasticity of Viet Nam remained high, estimated around 2, indicating that the country still had problems in power savings.
The government asked the index of energy elasticity to be cut to 1.5 by the end of this year and to 1 by 2020.
Statistics showed that during the past five years, the energy elasticity of Viet Nam fluctuated between 1.98 and 2, which was relatively high when compared with other countries in the region. — VNS