|Vietnamese exporters desperately need support from the government to sustain growth, experts warn. Photo nhandan.vn|
HCM CITY — Though exports remain strong, several sectors face difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic and require support from the Government if they are to sustain the growth, experts said.
Việt Nam is benefiting from the disruption of global supply chains, and manufacturers are seeking to diversify supply, including from Việt Nam.
Global demand is recovering and this is an opportunity for Việt Nam to boost its exports of consumer and industrial products, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
It forecast Việt Nam's foreign trade to remain robust as free trade agreements are gradually being implemented in a more comprehensive and effective manner.
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, the EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the UK-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement will continue to smooth the way for Vietnamese goods to enter partner markets with preferential tariffs.
Yet Phạm Xuân Hồng, chairman of the HCM City Association of Garment, Textile, Embroidery and Knitting, said he remains worried since some members have had to suspend production since they are in a lockdown area or their workers are isolated for living in such areas.
“Though [the impact] is not too serious yet, there is cause for worry since we do not know when the pandemic would be controlled. If social distancing is prolonged, it will definitely affect export orders signed with foreign partners.”
Trương Đình Hòe, secretary of the Việt Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), said he has petitioned the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to resolve the problem of lack of containers for exports and reduce the growing freight rates.
In April freight for a 40-foot container to the west coast of the US was around US$5,000, but now it is more than US$10,000. It used to be less than $1,000 during pre-pandemic times
Freight rates to Europe are also at high levels of $7,000-8,000.
Trần Văn Lĩnh, chairman of the Thuận Phước Seafood and Trading Corporation, said that marine transportation fees were at unreasonably high levels but import-export companies like his had to accept them.
Cancellation of orders or failure to deliver in time would undermine the company’s prestige and efforts to find customers in future.
Trương Tiến Dũng, director of the Sài Gòn Aquatic Products Trading Joint Stock Company, said despite the increase in transport costs, it would be impossible to negotiate increases in products prices because COVID has caused consumers in places like the US and the EU tighten their purse strings.
But the high transport costs are eating into companies’ profits, and not just the seafood sector but also others’ exports would be hit hard, he warned. VNS