Vietnam ’s trade relationship with the ASEAN is growing in importance,
according to Louis Taylor, CEO of the Standard Chartered Bank in
Vietnam , Laos and Cambodia .
“This year will
be better for the domestic economy although conditions remain
challenging,” he told a press conference held in Hanoi on March 7.
“Exports are likely to be a key driver to the
country’s economic growth in 2013. We expect the shift of manufacturing
to Vietnam from other developing countries to continue to benefit
its trading sector. Free trade agreements currently under negotiation
are also likely to favour continued improvement in external trade in the
coming years,” he explained.
The ASEAN is the
third-largest export market for Vietnam , accounting for more than 10
percent of the country’s total exports; it is the second-largest
supplier to the country, accounting for 20 percent of the nation’s total
imports, according to Taylor .
A press release
from the bank noted that Vietnam ’s trade with the bloc had grown
significantly over the last three years.
Vietnam ’s exports to ASEAN reached 13.6 billion VND while imports from
the bloc amounted to 20.7 billion VND. Last year, its total exports
grew by 20 percent, outpacing other regional nations.
“Intra-bloc trade will continue to grow as member countries turn to
new trade corridors to reduce their dependence on Europe and the US ,”
“Further regional economic
integration would benefit Vietnam more and particularly help it
increase capital and investment flows,” he stressed.
Taylor claimed that a relatively stable exchange rate benefited
Vietnamese exports but Vietnam had seen trade deficits with Singapore
, Thailand and Malaysia for the last few years, a situation he
said could be improved if the country’s export structure was upgraded.
Regionally, the country exported primary products
such as crude oil and rice and imported higher-end products including
refined oil and electronic parts.
The ASEAN groups
Brunei , Cambodia , Indonesia , Laos , Malaysia , Myanmar , the
Philippines , Singapore , Thailand , and Vietnam. -VNA