Hanoi (VNA) – Statistics showed that Vietnam’s exports to Europe were the hardest hit by the COVID-29 pandemic as of late April, including exports to Vietnam’s major markets such as Germany, the UK and France.
Vietnam’s major export staples suffered the impacts of COVID-19 in the first months of this year.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)’s statistics showed that exports of agro-aquatic products fell by 5.4 percent while fuels and minerals slumped by 15.4 percent in the January-April period.
To give a deeper insight into Vietnam’s exports-imports as well as measures to realise yearly targets, Deputy Director of the MoIT’s Department of Export and Import Tran Thanh Hai talked to VietnamPlus’s reporter.
Reporter: Looking back on Vietnam’s exports-imports in the first months of the year, do you have any comments?
Tran Thanh Hai: COVID-19 is a global pandemic affecting every aspect of life. As for exports-imports, the pandemic has caused clear impacts.
Since its outbreak, the pandemic has strongly hit trade, especially at border areas with China.
While China is Vietnam’s largest trade partner which provides materials for many industries, epidemic countermeasures at border gates made it difficult for goods circulation between the two nations, especially imports of materials.
The next difficulty is considerable decline in Europe and the US as the pandemic has spread in the regions.
Shopping and trade activities have been falling while markets are almost frozen due to lockdown measures. Therefore, Vietnam’s exports have been strongly affected.
Though seaborne trade has been basically stable, transportation via roads and airways have not been restored like before so that the pandemic’s consequences remain quite serious.
Reporter: So, in your opinion, which products and markets are the most affected?
Tran Thanh Hai: Vietnam’s exports to Europe were the hardest hit by the COVID-29 pandemic as of late April, including exports to Vietnam’s major markets such as Germany, the UK and France.
In the first four months of this year, Vietnam maintained an export growth rate of nearly 5 percent. Though it was not a negative figure, it was much lower than in the previous years.
Vietnam recorded higher growth in exports to the US than other countries because Vietnamese firms signed export contracts with US partners before the epidemic broke out. However, the country’s exports to the US are forecast to go down in the near future.
Reporter: For markets that signed free trade agreements like the EU-Vietnam FTA or the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), how does the pandemic affect Vietnam’s exports?
Tran Thanh Hai: For the CPTPP, in addition to three ASEAN countries, Vietnam also has other major markets such as Canada, Australia and Japan.
For Japan, Vietnam still maintained the same growth rate like before, but with Australia, the decline was also seen. As for the EU, the drop was lower. However, once the COVID epidemic is over, the EVFTA will create a new “push” for businesses to boost exports to the EU market.
Reporter: At this time, Vietnam has embarked on a new normal situation. What are measures the MoIT has taken to export goods while ensuring epidemic prevention?
Tran Thanh Hai: At present, ministries and agencies are still focusing on solutions to remove obstacles in border areas, especially in northern border areas with China.
In fact, exports across borders, especially in Lang Son, remain relatively slow and there are a large number of vehicles carrying goods stuck at border gates. Therefore, removing difficulties for this area is still a key solution.
The next activity is to prepare for the recovery of markets with promotion activities.
With the upcoming enforcement of the EVFTA and the Vietnam-Cuba trade deal, it is important to popularise its benefits and how to tap them via rules of origin.
The MoIT also plans to work with associations to review suggestions for businesses to help them overcome hardships, thus proposing measures to the Government.
Reporter: Despite the complicated developments of the pandemic, but in the current context, the Government has yet to adjust targets. So which factors could help achieve the highest import-export value this year?
Tran Thanh Hai : Right from the end of 2019, the goal of 300 billion USD in export turnover was considered a huge target.
When the pandemic swept through countries over the past time, it has left serious effects on exports which dropped significantly in both volume and value in the first four months. It is forecast to decline further in the coming months if the pandemic persist.
As the Government has yet to adjust growth target, it is considered a milestone to strive for in the coming time. It is hoped that once the pandemic is under control in the world, socio-economic activities will recover and production rebounds, the target could be achieved.
Reporter: What are potential to create a driving force for growth in the remaining months?
Tran Thanh Hai: When the pandemic broke out, the world’s demand seemed to hold back. But when it is over, consumption will soar. It may be not too strong but it is enough for exporters like Vietnam to bring goods to countries.
Thank you very much./.