No significant impact of EU’s border closure on goods circulation: official

Update: March, 18/2020 - 15:34


Shrimp processed for export at Minh Phú Seafood Corporation in Hậu Giang Province. Firms were urged to watch for developments of the EU's closure of its external borders to prepare for their export plans. — VNA/VNS Photo Vũ Sinh

HÀ NỘI — The European Union (EU)’s lockdown of its borders to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had not yet had a significant impact on goods circulation, an official from the Ministry of Industry and Trade said to Vietnam News Agency.

CNN on Tuesday reported that the EU had formally agreed to temporarily close its external borders for 30 days to restrict non-essential travel in an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tạ Hoàng Linh, director of the ministry’s European – African Market Department, said that it was too early to say how the EU’s closure of its external borders would affect cross-border trade.

Linh predicted that there would not be any significant impact on goods circulation as the European Commission stressed that goods would not be restricted across external borders.

The biggest impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Linh, was the declining demand as Europeans would stay at home and reduce shopping for products like footwear, clothes and wooden items which were Việt Nam’s major export products to the bloc.

Linh stressed that the ministry was keeping a close watch on the development of the EU’s closure of its external borders and the impacts on cross-border trade to raise detailed scenarios and measures to limit the negative impacts on Việt Nam’s exports.

He also urged firms to prepare for any possible impacts on their import-export activities.

According to statistics of the General Department of Customs, Việt Nam’s export revenue to the EU market was estimated at US$5.15 billion in the first two months of this year, representing a drop by 4.56 per cent over the same period last year. Experts said that the decline was, however, just temporary and more time was needed to see the trend.

Việt Nam was having significant opportunities to boost exports into the $18 trillion EU market when the EU – Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (FTA) came into force, expected in July.

Research by the Ministry of Planning and Investment pointed out that the trade deal would help increase Việt Nam’s export revenue to the EU market by 20 per cent in 2020 and 42.7 per cent in 2025 compared with the scenario of no trade deal.

EU was a major export market of Việt Nam with revenue increasing more than 14 times from $2.8 billion in 2000 to more than $41.5 billion last year. — VNS