Vietnam continued to log a trade deficit with China in the year to August, with imports expected to hit a record high by the end of this year, data from the Ministry of Industry and Trade shows.
Vietnam shipped an estimated US$9.79 billion worth of exports to its northern neighbor in the eight-month period, while imports rose 15.77 percent year-on-year to $27.06 billion, the ministry said in a report.
The trade deficit with China thus widened to more than $17 billion since the beginning of the year.
With imports from China surging on a consistent basis and the last few months of the year, which traditionally feature high demand, approaching, it is predicted that imports from China will reach the $40 billion mark by year-end, the ministry said.
Computers and electronic spare parts created the largest export revenue for China, standing at $1.26 billion in the eight-month period, down 15.81 percent from the same period last year.
Crude oil came second, with export revenue topping $960.55 million, a strong 85.58 percent expansion.
On the Vietnamese export side, rice remained a stable commodity to be sent to China, with shipments worth $721.74 million over eight months.
While it was reported earlier last month that China had officially banned cross-border rice trade with Vietnam, this ban did not have a serious impact on Vietnam’s rice exports, the ministry noted.
In the meantime, seven commodities imported from China had import turnovers worth more than $1 billion. Imports of Chinese machinery topped $5 billion, whereas mobile phone spare parts stood at $3.71 billion.
Vietnam has been considering ways to diversify its import markets and reduce material imports from China since Beijing illegally stationed its Haiyang Shiyou 981 drilling rig in Vietnamese waters from May to mid-July.
However, imports of Chinese raw materials have continued rising.
Shipments of cloths and fabrics, for instance, rose 24.06 percent year-on-year to $3.03 billion, whereas steel imports soared 26.88 percent to $2.07 billion.
“China is one of the countries that Vietnam has the largest trade deficit with, and the reliance is getting increasingly heavier,” a specialized agency of the Ministry of Industry and Trade said.
“Vietnam’s exports to China have grown by an average of $800 million annually over the last three years, while imports have expanded by $3-3.5 billion a year.”