FTAs provide impetus for exports

Wednesday, January 19, 2022  14:15

Vietnam recorded a trade surplus of 4 billion USD in 2021 (Illustrative photo: vneconomy.vn)

Hanoi (VNA) – Despite pandemic-caused difficulties, Vietnam still posted a trade surplus of 4 billion USD, an impressive achievement partly attributed to free trade agreements (FTAs), especially the new-generation ones.

Statistics show that trade turnover hit 668.5 billion USD in 2021, rising 22.6 percent from the previous year. Notably, exports increased 19 percent, helping maintain a trade surplus for the sixth consecutive year, the Cong Thuong (Industry & Trade) newspaper reported.

Shipments to the markets having FTAs with Vietnam posted growth last year, including China (15 percent), the US (24.2 percent), the EU (14 percent), ASEAN (25.8 percent), the Republic of Korea (15.8 percent), India (21 percent), New Zealand (42.5 percent), and Australia (3.1 percent).

In particular, the new-generation FTAs such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the EU - Vietnam FTA (EVFTA), and the UK - Vietnam FTA (UKVFTA) are being enforced comprehensively and effectively.

After over a year of implementation, the EVFTA has proved its considerable contribution to bilateral trade and Vietnam’s growth, the newspaper wrote, citing the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) as saying that last year’s exports to the EU stood at around 40.07 billion USD, up 14 percent.

Likewise, the UKVFTA has helped keep Vietnam - UK trade uninterrupted amid Brexit. Bilateral trade approximated 6.6 billion USD, with exports up 15.4 percent and imports 24.1 percent, in 2021.

Nguyen Canh Cuong, Minister-Counsellor at Vietnam’s trade office in the UK and Ireland, said amid the decreased market demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the global shortage of containers, the export achievement by Vietnamese firms could be described as a “miracle” in which the UKVFTA acted as a catalyst.

Thanks to the CPTPP, the country also saw double-digit growth in shipments to Canada (19.5 percent) and Mexico (46.1 percent), with which this is the first time Vietnam has an FTA. Meanwhile, exports to Peru, a small but potential market, also surged 84.3 percent.

Cuong noted that the UKVFTA has given enterprises of Vietnam more competitive edges. If they can sustain partners’ trust, fulfil delivery commitments, and ensure product quality, Vietnamese goods will have an expanding market share in the UK in the time ahead.

An official from the MoIT’s Foreign Trade Agency held that to enhance farm produce’s competitiveness in the EU, businesses should pay more attention to product quality, food safety, technical barriers, rules of origin, and brand development.

In 2022, bilateral and multilateral FTAs, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that took effect on January 1, will continue to give an impetus to Vietnam’s economic growth.

Experts said to go faster and farther, the prerequisites are businesses’ efforts and proactiveness to improve their competitiveness, make innovation, and seize opportunities in the new context, Cong Thuong reported./.

VNA