Vietnam has set a target of earning US$22.5 billion from exports in 2004, an increase of between 12% and 13.5% over last year. To reach this figure, the trade ministry says exports will be more dependant on industrial commodities. In 2003, the export ratio of light and small scale industrial commodities recorded a great jump increasing from 38.3% in 2002 to 43% in 2003.
Commodities such as garments and textiles, leather and shoes all posted robust growth rates and are expected to perform well this year. Twelve out of 19 key export commodities posted double-digit export growth figures last year.
In the recent years, Vietnam’s export markets became more diversified and stable, especially large markets such as US, Japan and the European Union. Particularly, government initiatives on boosting exports in 2003 such as policies on export promotion such as export assistance credits, export bonuses, and VAT refunds and so on all helped maintain export growth. Such assistance also helped exporting firms to become more dynamic in finding new partners and outlets abroad for their export commodities. As an example, last year 70% of rice export contracts were conducted by rice traders’ own initiatives without relying on govern-to-government deals as was previously the case.
It is noted that Vietnamese producers are paying more attention to the importance of improving product quality brought about by investing in new technologies and trade promotion rather than continuing to rely on the quantity of exported products as a yardstick of success.
“To reach the figure of US$22.5 billion from exports, in my opinion, Vietnamese businesses must focus attention on changes in business production and practises. We must produce what the market needs and especially lift the competitive capability on three fields of price, quality and types of goods,” said deputy minister trade Mai Dang Dau. “In addition, the trade ministry will increase its assistance to exporters in particular by focusing assistance on those businesses exporting to large markets such as America, Japan, China, EU and Asean,” Dau said.