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Industry urged to lift exports 3%   2009-06-23 - Viet Nam News

Industry will have to work hard to keep country's trade deficit target at US$10-12 billion this year, standing Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Bui Xuan Khu said.

Workers load export cargo at Tien Sa Port, part of Da Nang Port System. Viet Nam's trade industry will have to work hard to maintain the trade deficit target at US$10-12 billion this year.

The trade deficit is equivalent to roughly 15.5-18.5 per cent of the country's total export turnover targeted in 2009, he said.

Khu admitted that it would be very hard to meet the target, a decrease of $5-7 billion over last year, adding that it would depend on the speed of the world's economic recovery and prices of commodities in the global market.

The country this year was estimated to have spent roughly $72.6 billion on imports, mainly materials and equipment, to meet the industrial sector's 10 per cent growth target.

To meet the target of $10-12 billion trade deficit, the trade industry had to earn an export turnover of $64 billion, up 3 per cent over last year, Khu said.

Meanwhile, the country is still contending with fall-out from the crunch, which has caused a sharp drop in the country's exports to traditional markets, Khu said. Imports from the US in the first half of the year fell by roughly 7 per cent and the figures for the EU and ASEAN markets were 10 and 6 per cent, respectively.

The country in the first half of the year earned an export turnover of only $27.57 billion, down 10 per cent over the same period last year due to a restriction in export markets and a price reduction of many key export staples including crude oil, apparel, footwear and agricultural produce.

Meanwhile, there have been no signs that things will get easier for the export industry in the near future, Khu said. That is why total export turnover in the second half of the year is estimated to top only $30 billion.

According to figures from the General Statistics Department, the country saw a trade deficit of $3 billion in the first six months of 2009 after reporting a trade surplus of more than $1.6 billion thanks to gold exports.

Economists said that the increase of trade deficit showed signs of recovery in the domestic economy as Vietnamese producers increased imports of materials and equipment to serve production.

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