Border gate trade among Viet Nam, China, Laos and Cambodia in 2016 is expected to reach US$30 billion, Nguyen Cam Tu, deputy minister of Industry and Trade said.Statistics from the ministry showed that last year, the total trade turnover through the border gates was $27.56 billion, posting a year-on-year increase of 27 per cent. Of this, trade turnover through the Viet Nam-China border gates accounted for 85 per cent, while that of Viet Nam-Laos was 4 per cent and Viet Nam-Cambodia was 11 per cent.
It also said that there were 295 border gate markets among the three countries.
Tu told the conference on trade development of the border gate, remote and minority areas, and islands, held in Ha Noi yesterday that the border gate trade in 2016 would be favourable, as several trade agreements were signed together with the establishment of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
He said that commercial activities at border gates had been one of momentum for socio-economic development as well as national defence in key areas. In addition, the trade had also played an important role in attracting investment in mountainous and remote areas.
"However, the management of border gate trade has seen shortcomings while development has not met with potential," he added.
Head of the MoIT's Department of Border and Mountainous Trade Hoang Minh Tuan said that with 4,510 kilometres (km) of common border gate with China, Laos and Cambodia, the trade among the countries had seen encouraging results.
Cross-border trade was growing strongly taking advantage of the 4,510km land border Viet Nam shares with China, Laos and Cambodia which runs through 25 provinces of Viet Nam, two of China, 10 of Laos and nine of Cambodia with dozens of border gate pairs and economic zones, Tuan said.
He said Viet Nam had taken advantage of materials for production in border provinces, thus contributing to growth of the border gate trade.
The issuance of the legal system of policies and mechanism had been an important tool for trade management and in promoting import-export activities.
Viet Nam had encouraged businesses to implement trade activities through border gates.
The enforcement of the free trade agreement, a complete system of legal regulations and policies on cross-border trade, and increased co-operation with neighbours to fine-tune customs procedures, had also boosted cross-border trade activities, he noted.
At the conference, participants pointed out certain shortcomings that hindered Viet Nam's cross-border trade.
A representative of Lang Son province, which is contiguous to China, highlighted poor infrastructure like trade centres, supermarkets and markets in border provinces, in comparison with developed facilities on the Chinese side.
The development gap between the localities of the two countries is also a hindrance to equal co-operation for beneficiaries. Additionally, Viet Nam's dependence on import-export activities of China's market and policies is another problem.
Deputy Minister Tu underlined the need to push negotiations with neighbouring countries on cross-border trade agreements. A cross-border business association should also be set up to ensure benefits for Vietnamese merchants while doing business with the three countries.
Viet Nam must also continue to strongly reform its State management of cross-border trade activities to optimise advantages and minimise negative impacts of trade relations with the bordering nations, he added. — VNS