Trade deficit from China dominates, imports from the “source technology” market limited

VCN – The Ministry of Industry and Trade assessed that the restructuring of the import market in 2011-2020 has not reached the goal. Vietnam has a trade deficit with many Asian markets, typically from China; while imports from “source technology” markets such as the EU and North America remain limited.

In 2011-2020, Asia has always been Vietnam’s leading import region with high import turnover over the years. Photo: Huy Kham

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, in 2011-2020, Vietnam’s goods import turnover reached about US$1,806.0 billion, with average growth rate of 12.0%/year.

Export growth grew faster than imports in 2011-2020, helping improve Vietnam’s trade balance. The trade deficit in 2011 was nearly US$10 billion, but since 2012, the trade balance has reversed direction, with a continuous surplus (except in 2015, there was a deficit of US$3.55 billion).

The 2016-2020 period recorded the trend of trade surplus with the trade surplus in 2020 reaching about US$19.9 billion – the 5th consecutive year with a surplus of the following year higher than the previous year and a record trade surplus in recent years.

Regarding the import market, a representative of the Ministry of Industry and Trade stated that in 2011-2020, Asia has always been the leading import region with high import turnover over the years. The average proportion of both the 2011-2015 and 2016-2020 periods account for about 80% of the country’s total import turnover.

Imports from the European market maintained a market share of about 8.3% in 2011-2015. However, in 2016-2020, Vietnam’s import market share from Europe tends to decrease and only accounts for 7.2% of the total import turnover of Vietnam’s goods.

Notably, in 2011-2020, there were some changes in the market share of Vietnam’s main import markets. China has increased its supply market share to Vietnam from 23% of the total import turnover of Vietnam’s goods in 2011 to 32.1% in 2020 and has become Vietnam’s largest import market today.

Among the strongly improved markets supplying Vietnam, Korea also increased its market share, from 12.3% in 2011 to 17.9% in 2020, becoming the second-largest supplier to Vietnam. The US also improved its market share from 4.2% in 2011 to 5.2% in 2020.

Meanwhile, the markets with the strongest decrease in market share in 2011-2020 include Japan, which reduced its proportion from 9.7% in 2011 to 7.8% in 2020; Singapore’s market share has dropped from 6% in 2011 to just 1.4% in 2020.

“It can be seen that the positive import shift trend is an increase in imports from the US, Germany, Korea, and Ireland and a decrease in imports from the intermediate markets of Singapore and Taiwan,” the representative of the Ministry of Industry and Trade said.

Besides the positive factors, Associate Professor Pham Tat Thang, Senior Researcher of the Vietnam Institute of Industrial and Trade Policy and Strategy (Ministry of Industry and Trade), said that China’s large increase in market share or the sharp decrease in import market share from “source technology” markets such as Japan are import shifting trends that need special attention.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade also said that the restructuring of the import market has not yet achieved the goals in the Import-Export Strategy for 2011-2020 in terms of the level of diversification and increase in imports from the “source technology” market.

Vietnam’s main import market remains in Asia with the trade deficit from this market region (especially from China, Korea, and some ASEAN countries such as Singapore and Thailand). Meanwhile, the EU and North America are “source technology” markets with the import proportion is still too low then Vietnam has a trade surplus to these markets.

In 2011-2021, Vietnam’s imports focus mainly on the group of goods necessary for production, export, and domestic investment projects. Accordingly, the group of raw materials which usually account for about 53.7% of the total import turnover of goods in 2011-2015, has decreased to about 50% in 2016-2020. The group of machinery, equipment, components, and spare parts with the proportion of about 36-37% in 2011-2015 has increased to a proportion of about 43-44% in 2016-2020. Imports of consumer goods in 2016-2020 stood at 9.2%, up from 9.0% in 2011-2015.

By Thanh Nguyen/Dieu Huong

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