Here are the 10 most outstanding features in import-export activities in 2009, in the eyes of Thoi Bao Kinh Te Vietnam.
VietNamNet Bridge – 2009 has been an unsatisfactory year for Vietnam in foreign trade, especially when the export volume is much larger than that of 2008, but export revenues are considerably lower.
Government lowers export targets
After obtaining the impressive export growth rate of 30 percent in 2008, the Government submitted a very ambitious plan for 2009. Export revenues aimed to reach $76.7 billion, to increase 18 percent over 2008.
However, the National Assembly’s deputy warned about economic difficulties in 2009 and voted for an export growth rate of 13 percent.
The terrible export performance in the first months of 2009 forced the Government to lower the rate from 13 to three percent and the export revenue to $64.6 billion.
Further adjustments in export revenue estimates were then made over the next four months by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. In July 2009, the ministry forecast a total export revenue of $61 billion for 2009, then in September, the figure was lowered to $59 billion and then even lower to $56.7 billion.
Exports down for first time in 20 years
The actual export revenue is estimated at $56.584 billion, down by 9.7 percent over 2008. For the first time, Vietnam’s export revenues are lower than the previous year’s.
Crude oil exports made up 69.7 percent of export decreases, while footwear was 12.6 percent, rubber 6.8 percent, coffee 6.7 percent, woodwork 4.7 percent and seafood 4.4 percent.
The import turnover reached $68.83 billion, down by 14.7 percent over 2008.
Trade deficit curbed
Trade deficits are always a big headache for Vietnam. In the first three months of 2009, exports were bigger than imports, but the trade surplus could not last. Vietnam experienced a trade deficit in all the other nine months.
Compared with the $18 billion trade deficit in 2008, the $12.25 billion deficit is clearly less serious.
Import/export prices down drastically
Both imports’ and exports’ prices shot down in 2009.
The export price of crude oil is just $46.3 per barrel on average, down by 38.5 percent over the 2008 price of $75.3. Rubber decreased by 32 percent, coffee 27 percent and coal 26 percent.
As for the garment industry, which has the highest export revenue for 2009, export prices decreased by 10-15 percent.
Prices of imports also lowered in 2009, with petroleum prices down by 42 percent, steel 32 percent and fertilizer 35 percent.
Farm produce prosperous
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the total export revenue of farm produce in 2009 is estimated at $8 billion.
The export of gold in kind was considered an important factor that affected the overall picture of Vietnam’s economy. In the first quarter of 2009, Vietnam exported $2.28 billion worth of gold, the main reason behind the trade surplus in that period.
For all of 2009, the export of gold, precious metals and precious stones reached $2.7 billion.
Adjustments on import-export tariffs made
The most important adjustments changed taxes on thousands of tariff lines under commitments that Vietnam has signed with foreign countries, including CEPT/AFTA, ACFTA, AKFTA and AJCEP.
Dong/dollar rate adjusted
The foreign exchange trading band widened from +/-3 percent to +/-5 percent in March 2009 and then narrowed again to +/-3 percent in November, 26. Also on the same day, the interbank dong/dollar exchange rate, the official rate was raised to 17,961 dong per dollar.
The dollar price kept rising towards the end of the year. A lot of import companies complain that they cannot purchase dollars from banks to pay for imports.
More anti-dumping lawsuits
As of July 2009, Vietnam confronted 39 anti-dumping lawsuits and lost in 70 percent of the cases, ranking 7th among 100 countries to lose lawsuits worldwide.
In the latest news, the EU on December 22 voted to extend the anti-dumping tax duty of 10 percent on Vietnam’s leather-capped shoes for 15 more months.
Vietnam facing technical barriers
In the economic recession, more and more technical barriers have been installed to control imports, meaning that Vietnam faces even more barriers to bringing its products to the globe.
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