FDI sector posts trade surplus of over US$14 billion in four months

Despite an overall export decline due to the shortage of orders, foreign direct invested (FDI) businesses still posted more than US$14 billion in trade surplus in the first four months, further affirming their role as the main growth driver of the economy.

Containers at Tan Cang Cat Lai Port in Thu Duc City. — VNA/VNS Photo

Trade turnover totalled $206.8 billion during January-April, down 15.3 per cent year-on-year, with those of FDI and domestic businesses at more than $144 billion and $62.74 billion, respectively, dropping 15.1 per cent and 15.8 per cent, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

The slow global economic recovery and tightened monetary policies in many countries have lowered the consumption demand in some major partners of Viet Nam, leading to decreases in orders and a 13 per cent fall in the four-month export revenue.

However, the FDI sector still recorded a trade surplus of nearly $14.2 billion as a result of $79.1 billion in exports, down 12.4 per cent, and $64.9 billion in imports, down 18.3 per cent. Meanwhile, the domestic one saw a trade deficit of $8 billion.

In 2022, Viet Nam shipped abroad $371.5 billion worth of goods, including $275.9 billion (or 74 per cent) by FDI firms, statistics show.

The FDI sector plays a considerable role in the growth of the Vietnamese economy as seen in its contributions to export revenue, job creation, and formation of supply chains in key export industries like electronics, garment, and footwear production, said Phan Huu Thang, former Director of the Foreign Investment Agency at the Ministry of Planning and Investment, as cited by Dau Tu (Vietnam Investment Review) newspaper.

The continuous rise of trade surplus for the past nearly 10 years is partly attributed to the substantial role of FDI enterprises, which have helped Viet Nam become one of the 20 largest trading economies. Its economy’s total foreign trade topped $730 billion by the end of last year.

However, the overdependence on the FDI sector for export has also revealed certain problems. While domestic businesses have witnessed a serious trade deficit, large exporters, mainly FDI firms, in big export industries like garment, electronics, and footwear have had to apply lay-offs or furloughs due to order shortages.

Economist Le Quoc Phuong pointed out that in recent years, export has grown strongly in just quantity instead of quality. The added value in overseas shipments is still lower than that in other ASEAN countries such as Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia.

FDI businesses are an integral part of the economy, but it also is necessary to gradually improve the competitiveness of domestic firms and their engagement in supply chains for the FDI sector right in the domestic market, he noted. 


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