Vietnam has fallen back into a trade deficit, after three years of surpluses, as it continues to import a large amount of goods from China, according to a new report.
The General Statistics Office on Saturday reported that the annual trade deficit hit $3.2 billion. It said foreign invested companies, collectively, earned a $17.1 billion trade surplus, but that could not erase all of the deficit racked up by local businesses.
The trade deficit with China alone increased 12.5 percent, to US$32.3 billion. Imports from the northern neighbor ballooned to $49.3 billion, which was 29 percent of all Vietnam's imports.
According to the report, there were also deficits in trade with other regional countries, including South Korea and Japan.
Exports grew 8.1 percent, the slowest pace in five years, to $162.4 billion as major products such as crude oil, rubber, coffee and seafood were affected by lower prices or lower shipment volumes, or both.
Imports on the other hand surged 18.9 percent to a staggering $165.6 billion, compared to a 13.2 percent growth last year.