The country’s exports in the past ten months have already reached US$78 billion, but many Vietnamese businesses are running short of investment capital to cope with market fluctuations.
Mr Bien pledged more support for them to fulfill their signed contracts and the set target of earning at least US$8.5 billion each month in November and December this year.
At a conference on export-import issues in Hanoi on November 7, Nguyen Tien Vi, head of the Planning Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), said that the export value in October was estimated at US$8.3 billion, up 4.5 percent compared to the previous months or a year-on-year increase of 32.1 percent.
The ten-month export revenue saw an increase of 34.6 percent following an upward trend towards the end of the year, Vi said.
However, economists raised concerns over challenges facing diplomatic businesses due to the global economic downturn.
Garment sector waiting for orders
According to Vi, the garment and textile sector has fetched more than US$11.7 billion so far and is expected to earn US$13-13.5 billion for the whole year, mostly from key export markets such as the US, EU, and Japan.
Nevertheless, he said, local exporters are still waiting for more orders due to a cut of 15-20 percent in the past ten months. In last year’s same period, they received orders for the whole year, even into the first quarter of next year, Vi added.
Some small-and-medium-sized garment exports are setting sights on new markets such as Australia, Africa, Canada and the Republic of Korea. However, it is not easy to increase the export volume to these new markets in the immediate period as they are facing tough competition from India and Indonesia.
In addition, Vietnam cannot boost exports to its two major markets, the US and EU, which are hit by the public debt crisis.
Another key export item, footwear, saw a slight increase in volume in recent months thanks to the signing of some contracts valid until the end of this year, and on-going negotiation for new deals next year.
Rice sector facing tough competition
Pham Van Bay, Deputy Chairman of the Vietnam Food Association, said that Vietnam exported over 6.3 tonnes of rice in the past ten months, and earned about US$3 billion, up 8.4 percent in volume and nearly 24 percent in value compared to last year’s same period.
The sector aims for US$3.5 billion from 7 million tonnes of rice exports for the whole year. However, he said, it is facing tough competition from major exporters such as Thailand and India which have a large reserve of rice but offer cheap export prices.
Vietnam is expected to ship 6.5-7 million tonnes of rice in 2012 to meet the growing demand of foreign markets. At present, the rice price hovers around US$600-700/tonne - a good sign for local businesses since Thailand is suffering the heavy consequences of flooding.
According to Deputy Minister Nguyen Thanh Bien, Vietnam and Indonesia have just signed a rice trade agreement at a recent ministerial level conference. The MoIT will shift its focus onto the Malaysian market in the near future, he added.