Vietnam has targeted export sales of US$114 billion and an annual export
growth rate of 16% for the 2001-2005 period. However, there have been
great challenges to overcome to meet these targets. In the first three
years of this period, just US$52 billion worth of exports and an export
growth rate of 11.7% were achieved. Suppose the growth rates reported in
the last two years were 14% and 12%, respectively, the total export
receipts would be valued at US$101 billion, realizing just 88% of the
Vietnam also remains far from meeting the target of �increased processed
products and reduced crude ones� set for export goods. It is projected
that by 2005, the export ratio of heavy industrial and mineral products
will remain as modest as 29.5%, light industrial products and
handicrafts 42.6% and agricultural, forestry and aqua-products 27.9%.
Meanwhile, imports are likely to exceed the 2% cap, reaching US$119
billion, that is, a trade deficit of some US$18 billion over five years.
By 2005, materials are likely to account for 61% in the import
structure, lower than the target ratio of 66%. Vietnam�s main
manufacturing industries will depend heavily on imports as imports of
machinery and equipment in 2005 are expected to account for 32.6% (as
compared with the target of 30.5%) and imports of consumer goods 6.4%
(as compared with the target of 3.5%).
In the first year of this period, there were just three items with
imports valued at more than US$1 billion. Now, there are five items of
the kind, greatly affecting the economy: machinery and equipment (over
US$5 billion), gasoline and oil (US$2.4 billion), materials for textile
and garment, and footwear production (over US$2 billion), fabrics
(nearly US$1.4 billion), and steel (US$1.1 billion).
Vietnam�s exports remain modest compared with regional countries in
terms of sales and average per capita ratios. Goods exported have low
processed contents and have to go through many intermediaries.
Meanwhile, imports have yet to reduce dramatically the backwardness of
the manufacturing sectors and the lack of access to source technology.
The market structure has not been improved, depending excessively on the
Asian market (making up 50% of exports and 75% of imports).
To achieve export growth targets of 13% to 16% in the 2006-2010 period,
or export sales of over US$40 billion a year, Vietnam has to make
extreme efforts in either of the two following schemes:
Scheme 1: Exports grow 14% a year to double the 2005 export sales to
US$50 billion in 2010. Imports growth must be capped at 13% a year.
Scheme 2: Greater efforts are needed to obtain an export growth rate of
15% to 16% a year. According to this scheme, exports of crude oil and
coal will decline as local oil refineries come on stream and reserves
fall. Aqua-products are considered spearhead products among the group of
agricultural, forestry and aqua-products, due to their great potential
and stable markets. Textile-garments and footwear are still staples in
the group of manufacturing products, with textile-garment exports alone
expected to reach US$8-10 billion in 2010.
Main import items are still materials, equipment and technology. Imports
of gasoline and oil, fertilizer and steel billets will be monitored to
reduce dependence on outside suppliers.
In the 2006-2010 period, the Asia-Pacific region will remain Vietnam�s
key markets. China will be its nuclear one with growth rates maintained
in this period and main items including crude oil, rubber and vegetables
and fruit. The ratio of textiles-garments, aqua-products and wood sent
to Japan will be raised from the current 14.4% to 17-18%.
Textiles-garments and footwear continue to be Vietnam�s main exports to
Europe and North America, markets that are likely to be growing fast if
there are appropriate policies, and cooperation in trade.