Border trade needs nurturing

Friday, Dec 20, 2013 09:17

Tourists buy free-tax goods at Moc Bai Border Gate Economic Zone in Tay Ninh Province. The Government should have flexible policies to develop border trade as it has great development potential, experts say. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Hai
HA NOI (Biz Hub)— The Government needs to come up with flexible policies to exploit the significant potential that exists for developing border trade in the country, experts say.

According to the Central Border Trade Steering Committee, Viet Nam shares long borders with China, Laos and Cambodia with dozens of international border crossings.

Border trade has grown at around 10 per cent each year reaching a total of US$72 billion during the 2008-13 period, accounting for an increasing portion of bilateral trade that the country enjoys with its three neighours.

For instance, the border trade has accounted for 30 per cent of the total bilateral trade between Viet Nam and China every year.

One of the busiest trading outposts is the Mong Cai border gate in northern Quang Ninh Province, the committee said. At $28.17 billion, this gate accounted for 45.3 per cent of total trade value at border gates and seaports in the province.

Such high numbers have shown that border trade between the province and China has played an important role in trade policies and also the province's socio-economic development policies.

Hoang Minh Tuan, head of the Border and Mountainous Trade Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said the borders have 285 border markets, border gate markets and markets in border gate economic zones. These markets have seen high growth in business activities and border gate economic zones have become dynamic trade centres.

However, management of border trade activities has been implemented under general trade policies, so they have not helped promote the potential of border trading, Tuan told the Vietnam News Agency.

Trade policies for the three countries have had to change many times and trade at the border gates between Viet Nam and those countries have been affected by these changes, he said.

Nguyen Van Binh, deputy chairman of the People's Committee of northern Lang Son Province, said the Government should have flexible management policies to assist the economic management of provinces. The provinces, meanwhile, should have more power in managing border trade activities to flexibly deal with changes in trade policies of neighbouring countries and ensure increased border trade values, Binh said.

Also, a representative from the Ministry of Defence said the Governemtn should provide direction from the centre to the provinces in management of border trade activities, due to demands on developing markets and enterprises. Therefore, the steering committee should be directed to quickly collect information about market demands, including goods, prices and challenges for making market forecasts. — VNS

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