Hanoi - In the first five months of the year, Latin America was Vietnam''s fastest-growing region as a trading partner, with transactions in both directions approaching $30 billion.
According to the General Department of Customs (DGA) on Tuesday, that amount (29.7 billion) represented a year-on-year increase of 22 percent. The report does not specify the countries with the greatest growth.
The report noted, however, that Asia continues to occupy the largest share in the value of Vietnamese foreign trade with two-thirds of the total.
From January to May, purchase and sale transactions with that region reached 133.68 billion dollars, an increase of 7.5 percent compared to the same period last year.
Meanwhile, trade transactions with Europe reached 26.23 billion dollars, up 1.6 percent, and with Oceania totaled 9.1 billion dollars, up 9.1 percent.
In the first five months of the year, Vietnamese foreign trade amounted to 202.02 billion dollars, a year-on-year increase of 8.5 percent, but with a worrying difference of almost one billion in favor of imports.
These totaled 100,740 billion dollars, while exports totaled 101,280 billion dollars, said the DGA in a previous report.
May continued a trend that worries the country's authorities, as foreign sales fell short of purchases: 21.5 billion dollars compared to 22.8 billion dollars, for respective increases of 5.2 percent and 8.6 percent.
In 2018, Vietnamese foreign trade reached a record high of US$483.23 billion and left a surplus, also a record, of 6.8 billion.
It is estimated that this year's turnover will reach 500 billion, but what is in doubt is whether the trade balance will mark green or red.
But the experts are optimistic because there is room for manoeuvre and a beneficial influence is also expected from the recently activated Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Association Agreement and the imminent signing of a free trade agreement with the European Union.
In 2007, when the country joined the World Trade Organization, its foreign purchase and sale operations barely reached 100 billion dollars, four years later they doubled and in 2015 it reached 300 billion dollars.
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