In the context of the Covid-19 epidemic, complicated developments in the world disrupting international trade, Vietnam’s merchandise import, and export continued to reach a trade surplus of nearly 17 billion USD in 9 months. In the bright spot of the economy, this trade surplus was 2.6 times higher than the same period in 2018 and 2.3 times higher than the same period in 2019. In which, it must be mentioned the contribution of exports with 202.9 billion USD, up 4.2% over the same period last year with 30 items achieving an export turnover of over 1 billion USD, accounting for 91.3% of total export turnover, of which phones all of the kinds and their parts have the largest export turnover, reached 36.7 billion USD; electronics goods, computers, and their parts reached 32.2 billion USD; textiles and garments reached 22.1 billion USD; machinery, instrument, accessory reached 18.2 billion USD; footwear reached 12.1 billion USD; wood and wooden products reached 8.5 billion USD; means of transport and components reached 6.5 billion USD; fishery products reached 6 billion USD. It is noteworthy that the domestic economic sector increasingly asserted its contribution role when the 9-month export turnover value reached USD 71.8 billion, an increase of 20.2% over the same period last year. The increase in exports during the pandemic proves that countries still put Vietnamese goods in priority positions. The large trade surplus also brought a positive impact on the exchange rate and foreign exchange reserves in the context that Vietnam needed more resources to prepare for the economic recovery after Covid-19.

However, the current record trade surplus lacks sustainability when the 9-month import turnover reached 185.9 billion USD, down 0.8% over the same period last year. Vietnam’s economy is heavily dependent on imported raw materials. When global trade was broken due to the negative impact of the Covid-19 epidemic, the lack of orders by Vietnamese enterprises and production delays in production led to the decline in imports. In the structure of imported goods in the first nine months of 2020, the group of materials for production accounts for 93.5% of the total import turnover but is estimated at 173.7 billion USD, down 1.1% over the same period. last year. The index of industrial production of the whole country in 9 months of this year also increased by only 2.4%, showing that production is facing many difficulties, affecting jobs and income of people.

In order for the picture of import and export to continue to be a bright spot in the coming time, we need to restructure import and export goods, build input material supply chains, develop supporting industries … to help the Vietnamese economy not too dependent on external materials. At the same time, to take measures to stimulate investment demand in the export production sector to actively source goods when markets around the world reopen normally and take advantage of opportunities from the European Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA). It is necessary to have policies to encourage and restrict imports suitable to the situation of domestic production, supply, and demand such as encouraging the import of machinery and equipment to expand production, restrict the import of domestic goods, and groups of goods have enough production capacity. The government and business will study institutional solutions, human resources, manufacturing processes, technologies, and business strategies to utilize and integrate the provisions of the Free Trade Agreement and the Investment Protection Agreement between Vietnam and the EU (EVFTA and IPA).