How to bolster exports, trade
(VOV) - Vietnam, more than most countries, relies heavily on international trade as a pillar of its economy. The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has pledged to help the nation’s businesses increase foreign trade.
Deputy Minister of the MoIT Tran Tuan Anh made this point again in a recent exclusive interview with a VOV reporter. Following are key translated excerpts capturing the gist of the interview.
There is nothing that we produce in agriculture or any industry here in Vietnam that cannot be sourced elsewhere in the world. If we as a nation don't supply quality product on a consistent and affordable basis, we will lose in the international trade arena.
There are many factors that hinder trade in Vietnam. Some are within our control and others are uncontrollable. Lack of modern machinery and equipment has negatively affected the quality of agriculture and marine exports.
Lack of infrastructure and the ability to transport product timely and efficiently both within the nation’s borders and to foreign markets also damage the quality of exports and result in excessive lost profits.
Specifically, the lack of adequate port facilities with sufficient piers and berthing facilities along with road infrastructure places severe handicaps on exports in all industries across the board.
Just as significantly, the lack of application of modern technologies such as VietGap or GlobalGap combined with excessive overuse and abuse of pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals seriously hampers the competitiveness of exports.
These are areas the MoIT can assist businesses cope more effectively with in a variety of ways. If we don’t resolve these obstacles particularly as they relate to agriculture and aquaculture, then sustainable international trade for these industries will never materialize.
First of all, it is unrealistic to assume that exports will always increase year after year ad infinitum. That simply isn’t how the international consumer markets work and the fundamental premise of your question is faulty.
For most of 2015 the global demand for fish and seafood softened, and as such, it is only natural to expect the lower demand to spill over and result in lower exports for Vietnam’s aquaculture.
As it relates to marine exports, the year 2014 experienced exceptional growth of 10% over the year 2013 so some of the decline in 2015 was totally predictable. Simple year-on-year comparisons are essentially useless as predictors of future exports.
Accurate forecasts in agriculture or any industry involve more complex statistical trend and regression analysis, multiple years and consideration of a wide variety of factors such as seasonality and weather.
The major problem facing marine exports is the overuse and abuse of antibiotics and other chemicals by domestic companies. This negatively effects the quality of product and will never be acceptable by international consumers.
The MoIT must succeed in facilitating the industry implement technologies to reduce antibiotic and chemicals if there is to be any long term prospects of sustainability for the industry.
In short, the industry must reorient itself and place heavy emphasis on food safety or it will go by the wayside.
In 2016 the ministry will concentrate on taking full advantage of market opportunities created by free trade agreements and assisting businesses improve their competitiveness.
I have no doubt that we are planting the seeds for progress of our nation that will result in a higher quality of life for this and future generations and the creation of good paying jobs for the people of Vietnam.