The exports of many of Vietnam’s key commodities, such as telephones and components, textiles, footwear, and agricultural and fishery products, have been greatly boosted thanks to the country’s efficient exploitation of major markets in APEC economies.
Key markets for exports
“We will continue to conquer the markets in the US, Australia, and Japan to increase export revenue in the coming time when the production lines in new manufacturing plants will be ready to run at full capacity,” Phan Trung Kien, director of Phuc An Nhien Food Co., Ltd. (Ho Chi Minh City), said when talking about exploiting potential export markets.
The three markets mentioned by Kien currently account for 70 per cent of the total export value of vermicelli, dried rice noodles, dried mussel, and rice paper products made by Phuc An Nhien.
The APEC currently makes up 60 and 80 per cent of Vietnam’s total export and import value, respectively.
In many other enterprises, the contributions of these major markets to overall exports also follow similar patterns since the export structure of Vietnam largely concentrates on a handful of specific markets, such as the US, Japan, Korea, and China, that is, on large-scale economies in the APEC.
Over the first nine months of this year, Vietnam has reported eight commodity groups which achieved an export turnover over $1 billion to the US market.
Textile and garment exports reached $9.25 billion, up 9.5 per cent compared to the same period last year, and accounted for nearly 30 per cent of the total export value to the US. The US is the largest market for Vietnamese textile and apparel imports. In 2016, the export turnover of this commodity group to the US hit $11.45 billion, up 4.6 per cent against 2015, making up 48 per cent of the total textile and garment export turnover of the whole country.
Vu Duc Giang, chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas), said that the growth of textile and garment exports largely stems from major markets in APEC economies, namely the US, Japan, and South Korea.
Meanwhile, footwear exports to the US in the first nine months reached $3.76 billion, up 13.7 per cent compared to the same period last year and accounted for 12 per cent of the total value of Vietnamese goods to the US.
In 2016, total exports reached $175.9 billion. Of this, four markets, including the US, Japan, South Korea, and China, contributed $86 billion.
Specifically, exports to the US grew to $38.1 billion, up 10 per cent; Japan brought in $14.6 billion, up 3.4 per cent; South Korea yielded $11.5 billion, up 29 per cent; and exports to China hit $21.8 billion.
Phone and components exports, despite decreasing by 7.4 per cent on-year, maintained a turnover of $2.89 billion.
Seizing the chance to boost export activities
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), APEC’s 21 member economies account for 59 per cent of the world population and more than 50 per cent of the total GDP and 57 per cent of global trade, making it an exceptionally sizable and potential market for Vietnamese enterprises.
Promoting trade liberalisation and trade facilitation in the APEC has opened up great opportunities for the business community in Vietnam, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises.
Tran Thanh Hai, deputy director of MoIT’s Import-Export Department, said that in recent years, the Vietnamese business community has been taking full advantage of these opportunities to effectively access and exploit the Asia-Pacific market, brought about by the country’s cooperation with the APEC. In particular, Vietnam’s export turnover to APEC’s member economies has been increasing steadily, from $98.37 billion in 2014 to over $119.69 billion in 2016.
According to MoIT, 13 out of the 15 free trade agreements signed by Vietnam involve 18 APEC member economies. Seven APEC member economies, namely the US, China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong-China, Malaysia, and Singapore, are among Vietnam’s top 10 export markets.
Over the first eight months of this year, the export value of aquatic and fishery products to South Korea reached over $475 million, an increase of 27 per cent compared to the same period last year. As Vietnam’s traditional seafood export markets are increasingly demanding, the South Korean market appears to be more open to Vietnamese exporters.
Nha Trang Seafood-F17 JSC said that over the first half of this year, the company’s export value to Korea hit $20 million out of a total $95 million gained from overseas exports.
F17 employs about 2,000 workers. Its net revenue in 2016 reached VND1.107 trillion ($48.77 million), up 37.9 per cent on-year.
“South Korea continues to be a key market for the company’s strategy to increase its exports in the 2017-2018 period and the next few years,” the representative of F17 said.