Vietnam’s exports in 2021 turn out to be an impressive performance with a record high of US$330 billion amid the severe Covid-19 impacts, representing an increase of 17.2% year-on-year.
|Processing seafood for export at Godaco Company in My Tho Industrial Park, Tien Giang Province. HNT Photo: Huy Hung|
The latest report from the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) revealed Vietnam’s trade turnover in 2021 rose by 21% year-on-year to $660.1 billion. With imports of around $330 billion, Vietnam attained a trade surplus of $2.1 billion, 0.64% higher than the figure recorded last year.
The MoIT noted 37 groups of export items having earned over $1 billion in revenue, a rise by four groups against 2020, in which industrial products made up a lion share of 86.1%.
“They are the key factor leading to a breakthrough in exports and subsequently a positive trade balance,” noted the ministry.
Vice Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh also pointed to local businesses’ capability of effectively utilizing free trade agreements (FTAs) as a strong factor behind Vietnam’s impressive trade result.
“New markets that recently have a shared FTA with Vietnam [in CPTPP], including Canada and Mexico, witnessed double-digit growth, even small-size market such as Peru also posted 300% growth,” Khanh said.
Meanwhile, several industrial sectors have realized their respective export targets for the year. The garment industry recorded an export turnover of $39 billion, up 12% year on year.
Chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) Vu Duc Giang attributed the growth to the reopening of major economies such as the US, EU, or Japan.
“The Vietnamese Government has swiftly changed its Covid-19 response strategy to safe and flexible adaptation to the pandemic, in turn creating a major boost for the garment industry,” Giang told The Hanoi Times.
In addition, 2021 also proved to be a successful year for the agro-forestry-fishery sector with an export turnover of $44 billion, $2 billion higher than the Government’s target, in which wooden products led the pack with $15 billion, followed by seafood ($8.5 billion), and vegetable ($3.5 billion).
Vice Minister of Agricultural and Rural Development Phung Dien Tien said the agricultural sector is moving in the right direction by forming mass production areas to meet the requirements of import markets.
“While there have been difficulties to access the Chinese market, new FTAs have opened the door for Vietnam’s goods to penetrate the US, EU, Australia, South Korea, and Japan,” Tien added.
Optimistic for 2022
Experts suggested 2022 would remain to be a favorable year for trade, especially as enterprises have improved their resilience and several economic sectors continue to benefit from FTAs, namely the CPTPP, EVFTA, and RCEP as the latest.
Enterprises, however, continue to face growing challenges from rising logistics costs, shortage of empty containers, maritime traffic congestion, and the pandemic, which are expected to be stamped out in 2022.
Amid severe Covid-19 impacts, economist Nguyen Tri Hieu called for Government agencies to ensure smooth movements of goods and address foreign markets’ trade barriers by ensuring higher product quality.
“In addition to existing markets, Vietnam should look for potential ones such as India, South America, Middle East, and Australia,” Hieu told The Hanoi Times.