Vietnam should seek boosting trade with EU to reduce its heavy reliance on the Chinese market, says National Assemblyman Vu Tien Loc. File photo
Vietnam should focus on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and the Free Trade Agreement with EU to reduce its heavy reliance on the Chinese market, National Assemblyman Vu Tien Loc said Monday.
Tariff exemptions and reductions provided by the agreements will allow Vietnam to import more equipment, input materials and consumer goods at better prices from the United States, the EU, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea, he said during an ongoing session of the National Assembly.
Vietnam now imports most of its component parts and raw materials from China due to their low prices. Some 50-60 percent of input materials for the local garment and textile sector are imported from China, and 90 percent of Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contracts for thermo-electric projects are implemented by Chinese enterprises, he said.
China is also the biggest export market for local fruits and vegetables, Loc said.
Export prices of local products to China are only one-tenth of those to European market, he added. However, Vietnam continues to accept the low prices to boost exports as local products are often kept out of the EU and US due to strict quality control standards.
For these reasons, Loc stressed that Vietnam must now focus on increasing product quality.
Meanwhile, amid the heightened tensions in the East Sea (known internationally as South China Sea), Vietnam should not worry too much about its bilateral trade with China, he said, as trade with Vietnam offers the primary market for goods from the residents of many poor provinces in China.
Other NA delegates stressed the necessity of maintaining normal trade relations with China while underlining the importance of reducing Vietnam's economic dependence on its neighbor.
Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang said Vietnam will make greater efforts to tap new markets since many countries have expressed interest in increasing trade here. It will sign more trade agreements with other economies, he added.
The government has, for many years, asked sectors to improve their trade balance with China, he said.
Vietnam's exports to China in 2013 topped $10 billion, accounting for 9 percent of Vietnam’s total shipments abroad, while imports from the country reached some $30 billion, said the minister.
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