The Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso) says if monthly exports are equal to the average level of US$675 million in the first nine months of this year, the sector’s export earnings will reach nearly US$8.1 billion by the end of this year, even up to US$8.44 billion thanks to strong growth in November and December.
The preliminary statistics of the General Department of Vietnam Customs show that footwear exports in the first half of October was US$309.6 million, bringing the total export value to US$6.31 billion so far this year.
Export earnings in the first nine months of this year rose 15.08% to nearly US$6.01 billion, accounting for 6.24% of the country’s total export revenue.
Export growth depends on market movement. September was the fourth consecutive month the footwear sector saw its exports drop by 25.14% compared to August to US$549.14 million, for instance to the US (9.63%), the UK (19.16%), Japan (19.12%), Germany (31.19%), China (65%) and Brazil (72.12%).
However, there are signs of positive growth in most markets. The US still ranks first among Vietnam’s footwear importers with its total volume worth US$1.93 billion (up 17.2%), followed by the UK worth US$399.67 million (up 9.27%), Germany with US$296.86 million (up 8.14%), Japan with US$290.76 million, the Netherlands with US$260.09 million, China with US$256.17 million, Brazil with US$210.8 million and Spain with US$210.32 million.
Currently, there are more than 1,100 businesses involved in footwear production, creating over 720,000 jobs. In addition, craft villages can mobilise ten of thousands of labourers from household production units to manufacture for export at the peak of the season.
As foreign direct investment (FDI) businesses make up 76.4% of total export revenue in the footwear sector, domestic businesses should improve their operation capacity to raise the added value for their products.
To deal with the shortage of highly skilled workers it is necessary to hire foreign experts to help improve the competitiveness of product lines for export.
In the face of slow world economic recovery, domestic business should be careful in their production strategies.