HANOI - Vietnam plans to boost exports this year and cut the growth in imports in order to keep its trade deficit flat at around $12 billion, according to a government report.
The Industry and Trade Ministry planned to boost exports by 7 percent to $60.54 billion while allowing imports to grow at 5.6 percent to $72.66 billion, making for an annual trade gap of $12.12 billion.
The report's projections also suggested that the deficit last year was $12.03 billion, slightly lower than an estimate of $12.25 billion by the government's General Statistics Office.
The ministry's targets, released at a meeting on Thursday, were more ambitious than its previous trade deficit goal of $14.5 billion for 2010, which was based on a government target for export growth this year of 6 percent.
Vietnam needed to do more trade promotion to expand its export market share in China, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai was quoted as telling a ministry meeting.
The ministry would support export processing sectors, raise the ratio of processed goods for export, limit raw material exports and help manufacturers of goods that could replace imported material, Minister Vu Huy Hoang was quoted as saying.
He projected Vietnam's industrial output would grow 12 percent this year, after an expansion of 7.6 percent last year. Annual retail sales growth is forecast to accelerate to 22 percent after slowing to 18.6 percent last year from 31 percent in 2008.