Vietnam is likely to miss its export target for a second straight year in 2016, according to comments by the trade minister quoted on Monday.
"If we proactively explore new markets and potential, apart from boosting exports to traditional markets, it is likely that exports could achieve a growth of more than 8 percent this year," Industry and Trade Minister Tran Tuan Anh was quoted by the Vietnam Economic Times newspaper as saying.
Vietnam's target this year for exports, the driver of its economy, is 10 percent growth. That was also the target for 2015, when exports expanded only 7.9 percent.
For the first half of 2016, exports were estimated at $82.24 billion, up 5.9 percent from a year earlier. The pace of annual economic growth slowed to an estimated 5.52 percent, from 6.32 percent last year, the government has said.
Difficulties are still expected in the global economy and trade in the second half of 2016, Anh was quoted as speaking at a cabinet meeting on Friday.
"Now our agro-products still depend much on China so it is necessary to reconsider market access and exploration, approaching major markets such as Europe, America more effectively," the minister said.
China, Vietnam's biggest trading partner, is the biggest of buyer of its rice, rubber, fruits, vegetable and cassava. It also ranks among the 10 largest countries for importing coffee, tea, timber and furniture, cashew, fish and shrimp from its southern neighbour.
In the first five months of 2016, 11 percent of export revenue came from China, according to Vietnam's customs data.
Anh said Vietnam could also boost the export of industrial and consumer products to China, apart from selling agro-products.