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Vietnam to maintain trade surplus despite sea dispute: ministry

Vietnam is forecast to be able to log a trade surplus in 2014 thanks to efforts from local businesses and the excellent performance of foreign investors, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said Tuesday.

Vietnam is forecast to be able to log a trade surplus in 2014 thanks to efforts from local businesses and the excellent performance of foreign investors, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said Tuesday.
Vietnam is forecast to be able to log a trade surplus in 2014 thanks to efforts from local businesses and the excellent performance of foreign investors, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said Tuesday.

The country’s imports stood at US$69.561 billion in the first six months of this year, up around 11 percent compared to the same period of last year, the ministry said at a meeting to sum up its operations in the first half.

Export data also jumped 14.9 percent year on year to $70.88 billion.

The Southeast Asian country thus managed to maintain a trade surplus in the first six months of the year, even though import-export activities in May and June were marred by a dispute at sea.

Tension remains high in the East Vietnam Sea, where a Chinese-run drilling rig has been illegally sitting since the beginning of May, despite strong protests from Hanoi.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade admitted, however, that the oil rig rift has had impacts on Vietnamese exports to China.

Exports of fruit, vegetables, rice, and rubber posted slight declines, according to the ministry.

Vietnam still had to import much from China, with import turnovers rising 30.1 percent and 11.4 percent month-on-month in May and June, during which Beijing refused to remove its illicit facility from Vietnamese waters.

Mobile phones and spare parts remained Vietnam’s export staple, bringing in more than $11.6 billion in export revenues, according to the ministry.

They were followed by textile and garment, footwear, and computers and electronics.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade forecast that Vietnam will continue to keep the trend of a positive trade balance in the second half of this year.

Full-year exports are projected to reach $146 billion, up 10.6 percent from a year earlier, while imports are predicted to top $145.5 billion, a 10.2 percent year-on-year increase.

This would mean a $500 million trade surplus for Vietnam, the ministry said.

Vietnam reported a $10 million trade surplus in 2013, according to figures released by the Vietnam Customs.

The General Statistics Office had earlier estimated the figure to be $863 million, but Vietnam incurred a sudden $600 million trade deficit in the last month of that year, narrowing the surplus to only $10 million.