|Vietnam’s leather and footwear sector is set to continue to thrive in 2019, according to the Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association (Illustrative photo: laodong.vn)
In 2018, footwear and leather exports hit nearly 20 billion USD, a rise of 8.3 percent year-on-year.
The US remained Vietnam’s largest export market with more than 6.5 billion USD, followed by the European Union market (more than 5 billion USD) and China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.
LEFASO Chairman Nguyen Duc Thuan said demand in Vietnam’s major markets will remain high in 2019. Tariff lines within ASEAN have been eliminated and there are plans to cut tariffs via free trade agreements with other markets, moves which will drive for the sector’s growth.
Meanwhile, orders in leather, footwear and handbags are likely to shift from China to Vietnam as China has cut investment incentives for the garment and footwear sector, in addition to opportunities from the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU- Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which is hoped to be inked this year, said LEFASO Vice Chairman Diep Thanh Kiet.
Foreign investment in Vietnam in leather and footwear is projected to rise due to US-China trade tension. It is important for Vietnamese firms to take advantage of the opportunities to bolster productivity and exports, Kiet noted.
LEFASO forecasts showed that in 2019, the leather and footwear sector is expected to earn 21.5 billion USD from exports, accounting for 9 percent of Vietnam's total exports and being among 10 leading export items of the country.