Vietnam’s exports to U.S. rise, China-bound shipments dip

The trade war between the United States and China is driving up Vietnam’s exports to the U.S. market but dragging the country’s shipments to China down, according to some experts.


Data from the General Statistics Office show Vietnam’s exports to its foreign markets grew during the January-May period, except for China.

Vietnam earned US$100 billion in export revenue in the first five months, with the United States being the country’s largest buyer, spending US$22.6 billion on Vietnamese goods, up 28% year-on-year.

Some items with strong growth of exports to the U.S. market included smartphones and accessories, up 109.2%; electronics, computers and parts, with an increase of 58.4%; and textiles and garments.

Meanwhile, Vietnam has seen signs of a slowdown in goods exports to China. The country’s total revenue from exports to the northern neighbor reached US$13.4 billion in the first five months, down 2.6%. Some commodities facing a strong drop in exports to this market were rice, tumbling 78.7%; smartphones and accessories, dipping 56.6%; and seafood, down 11.8%.

“U.S.-Sino trade tensions have affected Vietnam’s economy both positively and negatively,” Director of the Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research (VEPR) Nguyen Duc Thanh said.

The representative of VEPR explained that Vietnamese goods have the advantage of being exported to the United States over Chinese goods as China’s commodities are subject to higher taxes. In the context of the escalating trade war, U.S. firms also tend to select more Vietnamese goods than Chinese goods.

Meanwhile, the country’s exports to China have fallen recently as the Chinese side is attempting to protect its domestic market to cope with the ongoing trade war, causing it to restrict imported goods from foreign countries, including Vietnam.

Many economic research organizations had earlier voiced concern over the change in supply and demand chains due to the trade war.

A report from the Central Institute for Economic Management indicated that Vietnam has recently found it difficult to ship goods to China for two reasons.

First, the northern neighbor has proactively slashed the volume of imported commodities during the trade war. Secondly, China is creating multiple obstacles for Vietnamese goods in retaliation for Vietnam’s reluctance to be used as an intermediary for exporting Chinese goods to other countries.

“Shipping goods to China will get more difficult,” VEPR said in its first quarter report. The report also shows that the Chinese side demanded that Vietnamese fruit and vegetable exports to China present quarantine certificates and have their origins and packaging checked and certified by Vietnamese agencies and the General Administration of Customs of China.


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