30 May, 2019

Vietnam exports to USA surge during the US-China trade war

Vietnam can become the seventh largest exporter to the US in 2019 if it maintains the export growth rate of 40.2% as in the first quarter.

The US Census Bureaujust announced that in the first three months of 2019, the export growth of goods from Vietnam to the US increased by 40.2% over the same period last year. This is the fastest growth rate among the 12 largest exporters to the US in 2018. Behind Vietnam is South Korea with a growth rate of 18.4%. On the other hand, Chinese exports to the US fell by 13.9% in the midst of an increasing trade tension between the two countries.

The 12 largest commodity exporters to the US in 2018. Source: US Census Bureau

If Vietnam can maintain the growth rate in the first quarter for the rest of 2019, it could surpass the big players such as France, England, Italy and India to become the 7th largest commodity exporter to the US. Last year, Vietnam ranked 12th with the value of goods exported to the US more than 49.2 billion USD.

According to the statistics of the Vietnam General Department of Customs, in the first 4 months of this year, the US continued to be the largest importer of Vietnamese goods such as textiles with a value of $4.42 billion, up 9.1% compared to in the same period last year; footwear ($2 billion), up 13.5%; machinery, equipment, tools and spare parts increased more than 54% (1.3 billion USD); wood and wood products (1.42 billion USD), up by 34.7%.

Bloomberg asserted that Vietnam became prominent in the region when other key export countries to USA were negatively affected because of the trade war. Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan all witnessed a drop in exports to the US in April 2019, while the figure for Vietnam increased by 7.5% over the same period in 2018. “Vietnam is benefiting from businesses that wish to move their supply chains to avoid US tax strikes from China. Vietnam provides low-cost labor, as well as a stable business environment. At the same time, this is also one of the fastest growing countries in the world” the American newspaper reported.

Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump also mentioned that producers could choose Vietnam as a destination after leaving China. Prior to this statement, since a year ago, many economic analysts have mentioned this scenario when the world’s two largest economies conflict with trade. The Fitch Ratings credit rating agency said that Vietnam is likely to benefit from the impact of trade tension from the flow of trade out of China.

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