Vietnam succeeded in maintaining its position as the world's largest pepper exporter and producer in 2013, earning 900 million U.S. dollars from selling 134,000 tons of pepper to overseas markets, up 13.4 percent in value and 14.9 percent in volume, according to Vietnam's General Statistics Office on Friday. In December alone, the country exported 6,000 tons of pepper to collect 43 million U.S. dollars, said the office. Vietnam exported its pepper to over 80 countries and regions in 2013, with the United States, Germany and United Arabic Emirates remaining its major importers. Statistics by Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) showed that in the first 11 months of 2013, Vietnam sold 24,900 tons of pepper to the United States to earn 176.9 million U.S. dollars, a dramatic increase of 60.6 percent in volume and 60.8 percent in value over the same period in 2012. The Ministry of Industry and Trade said on its website on Friday that Vietnamese pepper export plays an important role in regulating circulation and stabilizing prices of the spice worldwide. MARD recently quoted Vietnam Pepper Association chairman Do Ha Nam as saying that both export volume and prices of pepper had risen in 2013. "If a ton of pepper was sold at 900 U.S. dollars in 2001, it has now gone up to 6,681 U.S. dollars per ton," Nam said, adding, "That was a dream for many pepper growers." High pepper prices in recent years were attributed to the fact that the supply of pepper is lower than global demand, assessed Nam. Vietnam's pepper crop is grown mainly in southern provinces of Binh Phuoc, Gia Lai, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Dong Nai, and Ba Ria-Vung Tau.