A report of The Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) shows that in 2017, Vietnam’s exports of garment products to the US reached US$12.53 billion, 9.4 per cent higher than 2016; the figures for EU and Japan are estimated at US$3.7 billion and US$3.05 billion respectively.
According to Le Tien Truong, General Director of Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group, the textile and garment export turnover this year has increased by 40 times compared with a decade ago when Vietnam joined the World Trade Organization (WTO). He stressed that this growth was particularly impressive considering that imports fell 0.85 per cent.
Truong said that the export values of major textile and garment exporters in the world have tended to decrease, with those of China, Bangladesh and Turkey reduced 1.2 per cent, 1.3 per cent and four per cent in turn. Only three countries including India, Cambodia, and Vietnam saw significant growth.
This result is thanks to the internal force of enterprises to make good use of free trade agreements (FTAs) in order to raise the number of export markets which bring about the export turnover of more than US$1 billion from three markets including Japan, EU and US before 2013 to six markets in the current time.
Truong noted that since the Vietnam-South Korea Free Trade Agreement was signed in 2014, South Korea has become the market bringing to Vietnam about over US$1 billion in export turnover, reaching US$2.6 billion so far. In 2017, exports to the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) topped US$1 billion to.
Viet Nam has also boosted its exports to China with new products such as yarns and fibers and reached a turnover of US$3.2 billion which is equal to the figure for Japan, the third largest export market of Vietnam for more than 20 years.
In addition, the Eurasian economic union (EAEU) has also marked the return of Vietnamese textile and garment to the markets in the former Soviet Union. In the years 2016-2017, exports to Russia grew at a rate of 56 per cent and now reach approximately US$200 million.
"Russia is a major potential market for Vietnamese textile and apparel exports, as Russia’s total imports reached US$9.8 billion, but Vietnam has only a 1.8% market share currently," said Truong.
According to Truong, bilateral and multilateral trade agreements such as WTO and FTA have helped open the market for Vietnamese textile and garment industry to having achieved high growth rate and increasing market share.
"Before joining trade agreements, Vietnamese textile and garment did not have market share in the United States. Currently, it is the second largest export market of Vietnam," said Truong.
Since the Vietnam Textile and Garment Association and the Vietnam Textile and Garment Group have been deeply involved in the negotiation process of most of FTAs, they have been enabled to update the information promptly and therefore, proactively recommend options for the negotiating delegation to take advantage of the textile and garment industry.
In order to promote the advantages of FTAs, Truong suggested that the government, ministries, and departments should promote new economic cooperation, especially the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement.
In addition, he said that the State Bank of Vietnam needs to agree on the payment assistance for businesses in the Eurasian economic union to reduce risks, creating opportunities for Vietnamese enterprises to exploit this potential market.