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Business effort needed to reduce China trade deficit   2009-07-29 - Viet Nam News

Vietnamese businesses should step up their exports to China and cut imports to reduce the large trade deficit with that country, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Thanh Bien has said.

In the last few years, trade ties between the two nations have developed strongly.

Viet Nam's imports from China have risen by an average of 32.6 per cent a year since 2006, with the main items of imports like machinery and equipment, petroleum and chemicals remaining unchanged.

Its exports to China have not grown much in the period, and raw materials account for around 55 per cent.

They are followed by agricultural, forestry and fisheries products which account for 15 per cent and industrial products, 10 per cent, which are expected to become the main export items in the future.

In 2008, Viet Nam's trade deficit with China topped US$11.1 billion, 21 per cent higher than the previous year.

"This year, the country expects to increase exports to China to $5 billion and to $6.4 billion next year," Bien said.

But this would still account for a small fraction of China's imports that were worth $1.13 trillion last year.

Dang Tran Nhan, deputy head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Asia-Pacific Department, said to boost exports to China, businesses needed to meet conditions included in the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement - like animal and plant quarantine regulations - and strictly comply with food hygiene and safety requirements.

He also urged Vietnamese businesses to take advantage of the tax breaks offered under the agreement to farm produce like natural rubber, coffee, tea, pepper, rice, vegetables and fruit and improve promotion and marketing to penetrate the Chinese market.

Stronger ties

In the last few years, trade ties between the two nations have developed strongly. Due to the impact of the global economic downturn since 2008, bilateral trade in the first five months this year dropped to $7.12 billion, 21.4 per cent less than the same period last year.

Viet Nam's exports were worth $1.6 billion in this period and imports from China, $5.51 billion, down by 1.71 per cent and 25.8 per cent, respectively. 

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