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Trade and industrial sector set to record growth of 9.45% in 2021

With the COVID-19 pandemic causing plenty of difficulties for production and business activities and the added value of the industrial sector in Q1 set to endure a slight fall, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) is striving to help the sector achieve a growth rate of 9.45% and export growth of up to 5%.

Talking to the media recently about the sector’s goals and solutions aimed at boosting production and business amid complications brought about by COVID-19, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said the MoIT has moved to adopt action schemes. This is alongside outlining quarterly growth scenarios for the entire industry and for the entirety of 2020.

Following success in controlling the pandemic last year and the stable macroeconomic situation enjoyed in January of this year, the Vietnamese economy has been able to maintain its recovery momentum.

Data compiled by the General Statistics Office (GSO) indicates that the national economy continued to recover in January, which can be seen most clearly in industrial production which rose by 22.2% from a year earlier, with a notable increase of over 27% in the processing and manufacturing industry.

Furthermore, retail sales and consumer service revenue also witnessed a monthly surge of 3.7% with an annual rise of 6.4% to VND479.9 trillion, equal to US$20.8 billion.

Other figures also reveal improvements recorded in the economy compared to the same period from last year. Indeed, trade revenue in January grew by 45.2% to approximately US$53.9 billion, including US$27 billion in exports, up 46.7%, and US$26.9 billion in imports, a rise of 43.7%, resulting in a trade surplus of US$100 million.

Meanwhile, exports and imports successfully maintained an impressive growth rate, with the trade surplus hitting US$1.3 billion in January the year. Total import and export turnover is estimated to stand at US$54.1 billion, up 45.7% over the same period from last year. Elsewhere, export surplus continues to represent a bright spot, with export drivers from the processing and manufacturing industry.

Despite these positives, the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic among the local community at the end of January, coupled with new variants which have a higher transmission rate, required urgent and drastic anti-pandemic measures. This involved zoning off areas and quarantining people in a bid to prevent the spread of disease from significantly impacting on trade exchanges.

“With the active involvement of both the political system and anti-epidemic experience in 2020, we are able to expect the pandemic to be brought under control soon as a means of recovering production and trade toward ensuring economic growth as expected,” Deputy Minister Hai said.

In order to meet the growth target for the industry and trade sector as a contribution to the country’s GDP growth target in 2021, a major focus should be placed on removing difficulties faced by production and business enterprises. Efforts should be made to boost the pace of administrative reform in order to help enterprises approach support policies in a convenient and timely manner. This can be done by finding import markets specifically for raw materials, fuels, materials, and spare parts to help them overcome difficulties caused by the pandemic.

Moreover, the sector will focus on developing the domestic market whilst simultaneously expanding the export market, thereby taking full advantage of free trade agreements (FTAs). Efforts will also be made to persify export and import markets, especially small and niche markets, whilst structuring export products in order to improve the competitiveness of export products and develop brands.

Regarding the promotion of international economic integration in the year ahead, the MoIT will continue to give priority to building and fine-tuning the legal and policy system as a means of fully implementing commitments to international economic integration, in line with the roadmap.

Greater attention will therefore be paid to the implementation of FTAs that the nation has joined, especially plans for the implementation of new generation FTAs, such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).