Exports overcome challenges to achieve 6% growth target for 2023

Vietnam had a total import and export turnover of nearly 154.3 billion USD in the first quarter of this year. Although the export turnover dropped more than 13% against last year, Vietnam still maintained a trade balance and had a trade surplus of 4 billion USD, 1.9 billion USD higher than in 2022. This will help Vietnam reach its target of 6% export growth this year.

Despite a slow recovery of the world’s economy and tight monetary policies in many countries, which has led to a decline in consumer demand in Vietnam’s major trading partners, Vietnam still had 14 export items earning 1 billion USD and four items earning 5 billion USD in the first quarter - phones and components, electronics, computers and components, machinery devices, and textiles.

Since the fourth quarter of last year, garment and textile businesses have diversified sources of supply and export markets and taken full advantage of the incentives brought by free trade agreements.

Le Tien Truong, Chairman of the Vietnam National Textile & Garment Group (Vinatex), said textile enterprises have made the most of orders, including small orders, to maintain production, study the possibility of matching products to market demand, and prepare production forces to seize market opportunities.

He emphasized on five policies that the group has been pursuing with top priority to consistently participating in the global supply chain.

“Second, to build a complete supply chain among Vinatex enterprises to become a destination for partners. Third, to strictly follow commitments of environmental responsibility because they’ll become future standards imposed on supplier members. Fourth, to pursue digital transformation and automation. And finally, to invest in human resource development and training,” said Truong.

In the first quarter, Vietnam earned 11 billion USD from agro-forestry-fishery exports, of which rice and vegetable exports grew strongly. 1.8 million tons of rice were exported, worth 952 million USD, up 19% in volume and 30% in price against last year.

The average export price of Vietnamese rice was 519 USD per ton, the highest price in the last decade, helping Vietnam lead rice exporters in the international market.

Tran Thanh Hai, Deputy Director of the Import-Export Department of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that Vietnam’s current rice production is very good.

“Generally, we have a stable rice supply for export. If India continues to maintain its rice export ban, that will help Vietnam’s rice exports and other rice export countries. Vietnam’s traditional markets, like China and the Philippines, are expanding their demand. This ensures that the amount of exported rice this year will exceed 7 million tons,” Hai said.

In the reviewed period, Vietnam maintained its traditional markets. The US is Vietnam’s largest export market with an estimated turnover of 20.6 billion USD, followed by China  with 11.54 USD. Vietnam has a 10.4 billion USD trade surplus with the EU.

In the first quarter, Vietnam’s trade surplus with the US was an estimate 17.5 billion USD. Although the US market has been imposing stricter requirements and standards on imported goods, Vietnam’s export turnover to the US has been increasing.

According to Do Ngoc Hung, Commercial Counsellor in the US, under multilateral and bilateral frameworks to which Vietnam and the US are signatories, both have things in common to help each other increase two-way trade turnover.

“One of the main things the US praises Vietnam’s economy is Vietnam’s COP26 commitment to reaching net zero emissions by 2050,” said Hung, adding, “This shows that Vietnam is moving toward green products and a circular economy, with the goal of protecting the environment and combating climate change. All this will create competitive advantages for Vietnamese exports in the future.”

At the trade promotion conference for Vietnam’s overseas trading held in Hanoi late last month, Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien said that ministries, sectors, and the domestic business community will put forth solutions to boost exports.

He called on Vietnamese trade offices abroad to assess and forecast the economic situations of the host countries, especially their policies in response to global economic developments, difficulties, and challenges in order to advise the Government, localities, businesses, business associations, and producers how to make the most of new-generation FTAs in their import and export activities.

In 2023, exports continue to be identified as the driving force for Vietnam’s economic growth, with a growth target of 6% and turnover expected to total 394 billion USD, an increase of 22 billion USD against last year.

To reach this goal, the Government and the Ministry of Industry and Trade have kept close eye on the international and domestic situation, updated market forecasts for businesses, and removed barriers to help enterprises penetrate new export markets.