Vietnam trade deficit set to expand again: minister

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Vietnam's trade deficit could grow again in 2012 after falling 25 percent this year to US$9.5 billion, the trade minister said, adding that the government will continue to tighten control over gold imports.

The trade gap narrowed this year after exports surged 33 percent from 2010, to $96.26 billion, according to the General Statistics Office.

Industry and Trade Minister Vu Huy Hoang said Vietnam's trade deficit has been controlled effectively due to measures taken by the government regarding monetary polices, public spending and the use of luxury goods.

Imports of products in the "restricted" categories, including cars, motorbikes and auto parts, increased by only 2.5 percent, he said.

The trade shortfall, however, is expected to grow to $13 billion next year, equivalent to 12 percent of export revenues, he told a meeting in Hanoi Friday.

Hoang said Vietnam may need to import $2.5-billion worth of gold in 2012, up 9.6 percent from this year. If the gold market can be stabilized, gold imports will be reduced sharply, he said.

Gold and precious stones are also listed in the category of products that the government tries to restrict. 

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