Vietnam sees trade surplus and big gains for the third consecutive year

Viet Nam News/Asia News Network

Vietnam recorded a trade surplus of roughly US$2 billion in 2014, the General Statistics Office (GSO) reported last Saturday. This is the third consecutive year that the country saw a surplus, after recording surpluses of US$280 million in 2012 and more than US$860 million in 2013. This year, overall export revenues hit US$150.42 billion, up 13.6 percent over last year, while total import values reached US$148.58 billion, a year-on-year increase of 12.1 percent. According to the GSO, foreign direct investment (FDI) enterprises contributed to the majority of revenues of Vietnam’s key export products. They accounted for 99.6 percent of US$24.83 billion in telephone and component exports, 59.4 percent of US$20.77 billion in garment and textile exports, and 77 percent of US$10.22 billion in footwear exports. They also represented 89.7 percent of machinery and equipment exports, which totaled US$7.26 billion, and 98.8 percent of computer and electronic exports, which amounted to US$11.66 billion. In 2014, the structure of exports saw significant changes that benefited the country’s goods. The exports of light industrial goods increased 15.9 percent to nearly US$60 billion, farming and forestry products rose by 11.4 percent to 17.80 billion, while aquatic products were up 17.6 percent to nearly US$8 billion. Materials for production made up 91.2 percent of total import values, reaching US$135 billion, or a year-on-year increase of 12.5 percent.

Of these, the values of machinery and equipment were US$55.60 billion (up 10.1 percent), petroleum products were US$7.62 billion (up 9.3 percent), and chemical substances were US$3.22 billion (up 14.6 percent). Further, material imports served production for exports by the FDI sector more than that of domestic enterprises. These imports amounted to US$84.57 billion for foreign companies, compared with US$63.49 billion for local firms. The GSO noted that Viet Nam witnessed an increasing deficit in trade with China, while China remained the largest exporter to Viet Nam this year. The deficit for 2014 was US$28.90 billion, a rise of 21.8 percent from the figure recorded in 2013. Vietnam’s imports from China reached US$43.70 billion, up 18.2 percent year-on-year, while its exports to this market were only US$14.8 billion, although crude oil exports increased 76.9 percent and textile fiber exports rose 40.3 percent there. The GSO noted that as the contents of domestically made materials and components in export goods remained low, the three-year high trade surplus of US$2 billion resulted in insignificant benefits to the Vietnamese economy.