Apparel exports down, leather footwear shipments up

While the country saw a year-on-year decline of 20% in textile and garment export orders in the January-November period, the shipment of leather footwear edged up 8%-10% during the 11-month period.


Although the revenue from apparel exports over the period amounted to an estimated US$29.9 billion, up 7.8% year-on-year, the number of orders shipped to foreign countries tumbled, equal to 80% of the figure seen in the same period last year, according to a report by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

In the past, at the end of the fourth quarter, local apparel exporters received many orders for the following year, but this year, the number of orders was modest.

Several firms have yet to secure long-term export orders and have received only a few short-term orders.

Besides this, local apparel firms are facing harsh competition with some large rivals from China, India and Bangladesh.

The fall in the number of orders also resulted from the rising movement of orders to African countries emerging in the sector, piling pressure on Vietnam’s apparel industry.

Apart from this, China tends to place its orders in countries that offer preferential tariffs, such as Bangladesh and Cambodia, instead of Vietnam.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade suggested local apparel firms proactively seek orders to ensure their production during the weeks leading up to the end of the year. Aside from enhancing their connection with customers to form a close production chain, the apparel firms must follow regulations on labeling and origin to attract more orders in the coming days.

Unlike the apparel sector, which is facing a slowdown due to the decline in orders, Vietnam’s leather and footwear exports are on the rise, with multiple positive signs for the rest of the year.

The footwear sector has successfully expanded its importing markets, while maintaining its stable growth in some major markets, including Europe, the United States, Japan and South Korea.

In the January-November period, most local footwear firms saw the number of orders rise by 10% year-on-year. Stable prices of materials contributed to the hike.

The United States’ recent removal of preferential policies for footwear exports from China and India has created opportunities for Vietnamese footwear exporters.

China is continuing to reduce its focus on the leather-footwear industry and boost high-tech industries instead, so orders of footwear and handbags will be transferred from China to Vietnam.

Vietnam earned US$16.5 billion from footwear exports over the 11-month period, a year-on-year rise of 12.5%. Leather and footwear production in 2019 is expected to pick up by 10% against last year.


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