Trade Minister Vu Khoan answers questions on trade

Ha Noi Nov.30 (VNA) - Trade Minister Vu Khoan on Nov. 29 told the National Assembly that the Government made greater efforts this year to beef up export operations, with priority given to seeking new markets.

This helped achieve a total export value of more than USD 13 billion in the first 11 months of the year, an increase of 25.2 per cent over the corresponding period last year, the minister explained.

Answering questions from NA deputies at the first hearing session on Nov. 29, Khoan said despite the export growth Viet Nam's export value this year remained very small, with a share of just USD 180 per capita as against USD 919 in Thailand.

The rise in world oil and petroleum prices saw Viet Nam's exports of crude oil make a major contribution to the year's increased export value, while the prices of rice, coffee and other agricultural products fell relentlessly, he added, saying this worsening situation called for more government efforts to maintain the high growth.

In addition to crude oil, one of Viet Nam's strategic export times, exports of other products also rose considerably. Vegetable exports rose 80 percent; seafood, more than 48 per cent; handicrafts, over 46 per cent; electronic goods and their accessories, 39.7 per cent, he told the Assembly.

Elaborating imports of raw materials and agricultural products such as corn, soyabeans, tobacco, cotton, paper pulp and milk powder, the minister stressed that the government has always encouraged domestic production and consumption of home-made products and materials. However, domestic production has not met the growing demand of producers in both quantity and quality.

The government plans to bring Viet Nam's soyabean output to 400,000 tonnes by 2010, meeting 30 percent of the domestic demand, and to expand the number of dairy cows to 200,000 head to achieve a milk output of 250,000 litres by the same year, meeting 40 percent of the domestic demand, the minister added.

In reply to a question about the import of Chinese-made motorbikes, the trade minister said this was a pressing issue, so his ministry would discuss active measures with other relevant ministries before submitting them to the Prime Minister.

These measures would include encouraging mechanical engineering development with incentive economic policies and higher localization rates, the minister told the National Assembly.-- VNA