Vietnam footwear exports benefit from US-China trade spat

Vietnamese footwear exporters seem to be benefiting from the ongoing trade war between the US and China.

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Adidas is shifting sourcing of footwear from China to Vietnam. Photo by Reuters
According to customs statistics, Vietnam’s footwear exports in the first nine months of this year were worth US$11.74 billion, a 10.2% year-on-year increase.

Its exports to China in the period have risen by 28.5%, to Japan by 14.7%, and to the US by 13.5%.

Vietnam is the second biggest exporter of footwear to the US behind China, shipping 404 million pairs of shoes last year.

The upward trend is likely to continue, too, as rising wages in China increase the cost of goods produced there and the country is thus directing more of its manufacturing resources toward higher-priced goods like electronics, according to the global footwear news outlet Footwearnews.

Foreign companies are moving to other countries like Vietnam to cut cost.

Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted told Reuters last May that his company is shifting sourcing of footwear from China to Vietnam.

Vietnam has in fact overtaken China as its top supplier, with Vietnamese factories producing 44% of its shoes by volume last year and Chinese manufacturers supplying 19%, according to Adidas.

This would help shield the company from potential tariffs or supply chain disruptions if President Donald Trump’s trade war with China continues to escalate, a fact its competitors also seem to be taking notice of.

Vietnam may see export orders surging as footwear importers shun China to avoid high US tariffs and choose the Southeast Asian nation instead, local media quoted Diep Thanh Kiet, vice chairman of the Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association (Lefaso), as saying. 

"Vietnam’s leather and footwear export can reach US$19.5 billion or slightly higher this year depending on the situation," he said. Vietnam’s footwear exports were worth US$14.65 billion last year.


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