In the first half of this year, service sector was the highpoint of the Vietnam economy and reached a gross domestic product (GDP) of more than VND652.892 trillion (according to current prices), VND66.9 trillion higher than that of the industry and construction sector, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO). The domestic service sector’s growth functions as a good precondition for developing service export.
The GSO data showed that in 2012, sales of inbound tours to foreigners came to US$6.83 billion, US$4.97 billion more than sales of outbound tours to Vietnamese. This trade surplus is 3.5 times that in 2005. The number of foreign visitors to Vietnam increased in the first half of this year.
Last year, Vietnam’s postal and telecommunications service exports and imports amounted to US$138 million and US$57 million, respectively.
Investment in transport and insurance services is needed
According to the GSO, in 2012, transport service exports came to US$2.07 billion, while transport service imports totaled more than US$8.71 billion. Meanwhile, insurance service imports and exports amounted to US$582 million and US$64 million. These numbers were mainly related to ocean shipping. More than two thirds of Vietnam’s imports and exports were transported by foreign ships, and almost all cargoes were insured by foreign firms.
The deficit of trade in services increased from US$195 million in 2005 to US$2.92 billion in 2012.
Experts have said that it is time for Vietnam to balance service imports and exports and develop service exports. It is important for Vietnam to modernize its national liner fleet, aimed at increasing the number of Vietnamese liners transporting imports and exports.
Increased sales of inbound tours to foreign visitors were partially attributed to domestic and foreign businesses that invested considerably in developing infrastructure, especially tourist real estate projects, in Vietnam. Successful investment in this field is something from which relevant policy makers and businesses can learn to develop the Vietnamese maritime industry in the coming time. Participation of organizations and individuals from different economic sectors is so important, as state investment alone will not work./.
By Luu Tien Hai