Exports to APEC: “A golden opportunity”

The exports of many of Vietnam’s key commodities, such as telephones and components, textiles, footwear, and agricultural and fishery products, have been greatly boosted thanks to the country’s efficient exploitation of major markets in APEC economies.

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Key markets for exports

“We will continue to conquer the markets in the US, Australia, and Japan to increase export revenue in the coming time when the production lines in new manufacturing plants will be ready to run at full capacity,” Phan Trung Kien, director of Phuc An Nhien Food Co., Ltd. (Ho Chi Minh City), said when talking about exploiting potential export markets.

The three markets mentioned by Kien currently account for 70% of the total export value of vermicelli, dried rice noodles, dried mussel, and rice paper products made by Phuc An Nhien.

The APEC currently makes up 60% and 80% of Vietnam’s total export and import value, respectively.

In many other enterprises, the contributions of these major markets to overall exports also follow similar patterns since the export structure of Vietnam largely concentrates on a handful of specific markets, such as the US, Japan, Korea, and China, that is, on large-scale economies in the APEC.

Over the first nine months of this year, Vietnam has reported eight commodity groups which achieved an export turnover over US$1 billion to the US market.

Textile and garment exports reached US$9.25 billion, up 9.5% compared to the same period last year, and accounted for nearly 30% of the total export value to the US. The US is the largest market for Vietnamese textile and apparel imports. 

In 2016, the export turnover of this commodity group to the US hit US$11.45 billion, up 4.6% against 2015, making up 48% of the total textile and garment export turnover of the whole country.

Vu Duc Giang, chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas), said that the growth of textile and garment exports largely stems from major markets in APEC economies, namely the US, Japan, and the Republic of Korea (ROK).

Meanwhile, footwear exports to the US in the first nine months reached US$3.76 billion, up 13.7% compared to the same period last year and accounted for 12% of the total value of Vietnamese goods to the US.

In 2016, total exports reached US$175.9 billion. Of this, four markets, including the US, Japan, the ROK, and China, contributed US$86 billion.

Specifically, exports to the US grew to US$38.1 billion, up 10%; Japan brought in US$14.6 billion, up 3.4%; the ROK yielded US$11.5 billion, up 29%; and exports to China hit US$21.8 billion.

Phone and components exports, despite decreasing by 7.4% on-year, maintained a turnover of US$2.89 billion.

Seizing the chance to boost export activities

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), APEC’s 21 member economies account for 59% of the world population and more than 50% of the total GDP and 57% of global trade, making it an exceptionally sizable and potential market for Vietnamese enterprises.

Promoting trade liberalisation and trade facilitation in the APEC has opened up great opportunities for the business community in Vietnam, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Tran Thanh Hai, deputy director of MoIT's Import-Export Department, said that in recent years, the Vietnamese business community has been taking full advantage of these opportunities to effectively access and exploit the Asia-Pacific market, brought about by the country’s cooperation with the APEC.

In particular, Vietnam’s export turnover to APEC’s member economies has been increasing steadily, from US$98.37 billion in 2014 to over US$119.69 billion in 2016.

According to MoIT, 13 out of the 15 free trade agreements signed by Vietnam involve 18 APEC member economies. Seven APEC member economies, namely the US, China, Japan, the ROK, Hong Kong-China, Malaysia, and Singapore, are among Vietnam’s top 10 export markets.

Over the first eight months of this year, the export value of aquatic and fishery products to the ROK reached over US$475 million, an increase of 27% compared to the same period last year. 

As Vietnam’s traditional seafood export markets are increasingly demanding, the ROK market appears to be more open to Vietnamese exporters.

Nha Trang Seafood-F17 JSC said that over the first half of this year, the company’s export value to the ROK hit US$20 million out of a total US$95 million gained from overseas exports.

F17 employs about 2,000 workers. Its net revenue in 2016 reached VND1.107 trillion (US$48.77 million), up 37.9% on-year.

“The ROK continues to be a key market for the company’s strategy to increase its exports in the 2017-2018 period and the next few years,” the representative of F17 said.


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