High import prices of raw material for cashew nut has brought difficulties for Vietnam's companies in production and exports, causing declines in the commodity's trading in the first two months of 2014. According to a report by Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam imported some 28,000 tons of raw cashews worth 36 million U.S. dollars in the first two months, down 36.4 percent in volume and 20 percent in value year-on-year. Meanwhile, Vietnam earned 169 million U.S. dollars from exporting 28,000 cashew nuts in the first two months, down 0.1 percent in volume year-on-year. The United States, China and the Netherlands remained Vietnam's large cashew nuts importers during the period, accounting for 26, 20 and 9.8 percent of Vietnam's total export revenue of the commodity, said the ministry. Nguyen Duc Thanh, chairman of Vietnam Cashew Association ( Vinacas), said on Vietnam Industry and Trade Information Center's website on Wednesday that import price for raw cashew stays at over 1,000 U.S. dollars per ton, 150 to 200 U.S. dollars higher than that of 2013. If Vietnamese companies imported raw materials at that price for export processing, they will suffer from loss, said Thanh, adding that these companies should prioritize on buying domestic raw materials for production demand. According to Vinacas, in 2014, Vietnam's export revenue of cashew nuts, shell oil and processed cashew nut products is forecast to hit 2.2 billion U.S. dollars. In order to realize the target, Vietnam must import some 650, 000 tons of raw cashews from West Africa, East Africa and Southeast Asia as domestic cashews output is estimated to be 350, 000 tons. In 2013, Vietnam imported some 651,000 tons of raw cashews worth 621 million U.S. dollars, up 96 percent in volume and 83 percent in value year-on-year, Vinacas statistics showed. Vietnam pocketed 1.66 billion U.S. dollars from selling 264,000 tons of cashew nuts to world market, up 13 percent in volume and 19 percent in value year-on-year. If included shell oil, and processed cashew nut products, the total export revenue of Vietnam 's cashew sector hit 1.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2013, said Vinacas.