Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc attended a ceremony on December 30 officially recording that Vietnam’s trade revenue in 2019 was in excess of $500 billion.

He told the ceremony that Vietnam has increased its import and export revenue 170-fold since it began its “doi moi” (renovation) process in 1986, 37-fold since it joined ASEAN in 1995, five-fold since it become a member of the WTO in 2007, and over 2.5-fold during the last eight years, to $517 billion.

Total trade value in the 2000-2019 period stands at $4 trillion. From 2015 to 2019, it reached $2.1 trillion; higher than the figure for the previous 15 years (2000-2014).

Entering the first year of the 21st century (2001), total trade value was a modest $30 billion. Six years on, in 2007, it had reached $100 billion, after Vietnam became an official member of the WTO.

Four years later, in 2011, total trade value doubled, to $200 billion, and another four years later, in 2015, it was $300 billion.

Only two years after that, in 2017, it stood at $400 billion, and was $500 billion by December 2019.

Vietnam ranked 50th in the world in 2006 in terms of exports and 44th in imports. By 2018, it ranked 26th in exports and 23rd in imports. Vietnam has continuously remained in the group of 30 countries and territories with the largest trade value. Within ASEAN, it stands in third position, after only Singapore and Thailand.

Its trade balance has been in surplus after a long period of deficit. In 2011 and prior, its trade balance was always in deficit to the tune of billions of dollars, peaking at $18.02 billion in 2008.

But since 2012, the country has posted a trade surplus (except for 2015, when it posted a deficit of $3.55 billion). In 2018 its surplus was $6.83 billion.

In the first eleven months of 2019, with greater increases in exports than in imports, its trade balance reached $10.94 billion.

Previously, China, the US, and Japan were Vietnam’s three largest trading partners. However, since 2013, South Korea has surpassed Japan, becoming the third-largest partner.

The Prime Minister spoke of a number of key requirements to continue to grow Vietnam’s trade and ensure a surplus. The first is to continue creating favorable conditions for exports, combating harassment and difficulties. He assigned the Ministry of Industry and Trade to work towards a goal of $300 billion in export revenue in 2020 and to post a trade surplus for the fifth consecutive year.