China usurps US as Vietnam’s top export market: report

By Phan Anh   April 18, 2018 | 03:24 pm GMT+7
China usurps US as Vietnam’s top export market: report
China usurped the U.S. as Vietnam's top export market last year.

Vietnam’s exports to China surged about 15 times to $50.6 billion over the past decade.

China has overtaken the U.S. to become Vietnam's biggest export market, according to reports.

The shift happened last year after the U.S. started adopting several trade protectionist policies, and China started boosting trade and investment in Southeast Asia, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

The U.S. had been Vietnam’s top export market since 2002 before being taken down by China last year.

Vietnam’s exports to China surged about 15 times to $50.6 billion compared with a fourfold increase to the U.S. to $46.5 billion in the decade through 2017, according to statistics from the International Monetary Fund, as cited by Bloomberg. The trend has persisted this year with Vietnam’s shipments to China increasing by 33.5 percent in Q1 compared to the same period last year, as opposed to a 20 percent jump to the U.S., according to data from the General Statistics Office of Vietnam.

“The center of trade for Asia has clearly shifted to China from the U.S.,” said Eugenia Victorino, an economist from Australia & New Zealand Banking Group in Singapore.

Victorino also said that Asian countries would soon realize that China is superior to the U.S. in terms of trade, especially with the U.S. taking a protectionist stance.

Le Dang Doanh, a Vietnamese economist and a member of the Committee for Development Policy of the United Nations, said Vietnam needs to stop being too dependent on China by diversifying to more markets.

In fact, Vietnam is already on the move, having signed several international trade deals such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership last month, which will reduce trade tariffs between the 11 member countries. 

In 2015, the E.U.-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement was also signed, reducing tariffs between Vietnam and the 28 member countries of the E.U.

According to the General Statistics Office of Vietnam, the U.S. still reigns supreme as Vietnam's top export market, but exports to China are growing at a much faster rate compared to the U.S in recent years.

In the three years from 2015 to 2017, Vietnam's export turnovers to the U.S. were $33.5 billion, $38.4 billion and $41.6 billion respectively, while export turnovers to China were $16.5 billion, $21.9 billion and $35.4 billion respectively, said the office.  

Vietnam's total import-export turnover reached an estimated $107.32 billion in the first quarter, up 17.7 percent against the same period in 2017, with export value in the first three months hitting $54.31 billion, while imports registered $53.01 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $1.3 billion, according to data from the General Statistics Office.

 
 
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