Workers at a Samsung Electronics factory in Vietnam. Photo courtesy of TBKTSG
Exports of foreign companies in Vietnam have continued to grow at a rapid rate this year despite the macroeconomic problems that have caused many local firms to either close or scale down their operations.
The foreign firms have played a major role in both the country's overall export picture and maintaining its long-sought-after trade surplus, Thoi Bao Kinh Te Saigon Online reported, citing a report by the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Import and Export Department released at a conference in Hanoi Tuesday.
The export revenues of foreign firms increased 31.1 percent in 2012 and continued to grow 21.1 percent in the first quarter this year over the same period last year, accounting for 64.2 percent of the country's total exports.
A total of 2,847 foreign companies were listed as major exporters last year for shipping goods worth at least US$1 million, including Samsung Electronics which exported $10.9 billion, up 77.8 percent from its 2011 output.
The report also noted that foreign companies are taking over the electronics sector, accounting for 95 percent of computer and cell phone exports, as well as 91 percent of other machines and mechanical equipment.
Tran Thanh Hai, deputy director of the department, said the foreign firms have brought cell phones and accessories to the top of Vietnam's export list with $12.32 billion in revenue last year, replacing crude oil exports worth $8.23 billion.
Foreign firms also imported more last year, nearly $60 billion, finishing the year with a $4.1 billion trade surplus, which was largely responsible for Vietnam's first trade surplus in two decades.
Hai said foreign firms continued to help the country maintain a trade surplus of $278 million in the first quarter, with exports exceeding imports by $1.18 billion.
The group also paid $3.7 billion in taxes and other obligatory fees to the state budget in the first quarter of this year.
Customs officials at the conference said they are polling opinions about granting preferential treatment to more foreign companies, in addition to the current 13 which have been deemed transparent and have annual export revenues greater than $300 million.
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