According to Vietnam News, the Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Nguyen Thanh Bien has said that the country’s total export turnover is expected to increase by 13%, from a total of US$96 billion in 2011 to $108.8 billion this year. However, challenges remain in the export sector.

The country’s textile and garment sector attained an export turnover of over $14 billion in 2011, enjoying a trade surplus of $6.5 billion. To reach a $15 billion export turnover for 2012 would not be an easy task for the country’s textile and garment sector, as global economic woes would still plague major markets such as the US, EU and Japan.

In addition, production costs, including prices of electricity, water, fuel, workers’ salaries and bank loan interest, would be all on the rise. To maintain its leading position, textile and garment enterprises must choose markets and products carefully and become strategic partners with major material suppliers.

With an export turnover of $6.5 billion last year, the leather and footwear sector ranks third on the list of the country’s top 10 exports.

According to the Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso), the added value gained by the sector was more than 55% of last year’s export turnover, a year-on-year increase of at least 5%. Diep Thanh Kiet, Deputy Chairman of Lefaso, said a reduction in orders from European customers (due to global economic woes) remained the biggest concerns of local textile and garment exporters.

That was the reason why Lefaso had set out an export target of $7 billion for 2012. Kiet said, at the same time, local exporters had also refused low-priced contracts to avoid inconveniences caused by anti-dumping lawsuits.