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Exports increase 0.1% in first two months   2010-03-14 - VietNamNet/VNS


VietNamNet Bridge - Global economic recovery led to a slight increase in export earnings for the first two months of the year, Nguyen Thanh Bien, deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, said at a meeting in HCM City on Thursday.

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About US$8.9 billion, or a rise of 0.1 per cent over the same period last year, was recorded.

High growth rates were seen in many sectors, including the seafood sector, which rose by 19.3 per cent, rubber by 64.8 per cent, wood and wooden products by 29.2 per cent, and garments and textiles by 16.8 per cent.

Exports from the foreign-invested sector reached $4.24 billion, or a 39 per cent year-on-year increase.

However, the domestic economic sector saw a slowdown in exports, reaching $4.67 billion, or a decrease of 20 per cent.

But the recovery has not been stable, with prices of agricultural products such as coffee and rice rising from the same period last year, but dropping compared to the end of last year, according to Bien.

Challenges lie ahead for the export sector because of import barriers set by other countries and competition among other exporters in price, quality, conditions for delivery and payment.

Higher interest rates and difficulties in accessing capital from banks have posed restrictions as well. Meeting attendees asked the Government to offer preferential loans for production and export and extend the loan terms.

Truong Dinh Hoe, general secretary of the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors (VASEP), said the seafood sector was expected to earn US$4.5 billion from exports this year.

The global economic recovery would ease the way for more seafood exports, he added.

In addition, agricultural and forestry products exports to Japan would increase, thanks to lower tariffs under the Viet Nam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement.

"The Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing rule set by the European Commission will affect the seafood sector but I think that we will have measures to overcome it," he added.

To reach the export target, Hoe said the sector would focus more on trade promotion programmes in emerging markets like China, South Korea and Africa as well as in traditional markets.

Hoe also asked the Government to ask the US to maintain the US Food and Drug Administration's oversight of Vietnamese tra and basa fish.

The US is considering transferring mangement of Vietnamese tra and basa fish to the US Department of Agriculture, which has a list of catfish imports that must be more strictly regulated.

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