HCM City’s economy needs to pick up pace to achieve this year’s growth targets, a meeting held yesterday to review socio-economic development in the first nine months heard.
“Vietnam will suffer a lot because of the trade war between the US and China, and HCM City must have plans to cope with it,” Nguyen Thanh Phong, chairman of the city People’s Committee, said in his speech.
He said between 2013-17 the city’s exports to the US grew 8.4 per cent a year and 19 per cent to China.
Nguyen Van Trinh, deputy head of the HCM City Development Research Institute, said: “The trade war between the US and China is very complicated and hard to predict. Related authorities must carefully follow it.”
He warned that Chinese goods might enter Vietnam to be designated as Vietnamese and exported to the US.
“If we are not vigilant enough, especially in the case of similar export products like garments, footwear and furniture, the US will apply anti-dumping tax of up to 200 per cent on Vietnamese goods.”
He feared that while HCM City could keep out Chinese goods, neighbouring provinces might not be able to manage.
“And Chinese goods might be sent through HCM City to the US,” he said.
He also pointed out the exchange rate problem.
“After the trade war began the Chinese Government devalued the yuan by 9 -10 per cent, but Vietnam has only devalued the dong by 3 per cent.
“That is good for Chinese goods for coming to the Vietnamese market and increase their competitiveness.
“Vietnam cannot devalue the dong any more because it would have inflationary consequences.
“We can see that since the trade war began, there has been no reduction in Chinese goods entering the US.”
To prepare for the busy year-end season, the municipal Department of Industry and Trade will increase supply of many goods by 20 per cent over last year.
Besides, it will organise promotional campaigns in neighbouring provinces to increase sales.
“In the final quarter of the year services and industry must grow by around 8 per cent to achieve the growth target,” Su Ngoc Anh, director of the municipal Department of Planning and Investment, said.
In the first nine months the city economy performed fairly well, growing at 7.89 per cent, edging up from 7.87 per cent a year earlier.
FDI doubled to nearly US$5.47 billion, an increase of 50 per cent from last year.
Exports were worth around US$28.2 billion, an increase of 7.7 per cent.
Imports cost $34.8 billion, an increase of 10.5 per cent.
Services and retail sales grew by 12.8 per cent and industrial output by 7.89 per cent.
The four key industries — engineering and automation; electronics; chemicals, rubber and plastics; and food processing — continued to perform strongly, expanding markets, investing in technology, improving quality and competitiveness, and growing at nearly 8.39 per cent.
This year 30,634 new companies with a combined registered capital of VND673.5 trillion ($29.3 billion) have been licensed, 11.2 per cent up from the same period last year.
Job creation, vocational training and support for poor people have been carried out efficiently to ensure social welfare.
The number of jobs created rose marginally to 120,000, representing 93 per cent of the year’s target.