China-Vietnam trade soars past $100 bln

By Dat Nguyen   November 19, 2020 | 05:00 pm PT
China-Vietnam trade soars past $100 bln
Containers seen at the Kim Thanh Border Gate No.2 with China in the northern province of Lao Cai in February 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
China has become the first country to have a bilateral trade value of $100 billion with Vietnam this year.

Vietnam exported $37.9 billion worth of goods to China in the first 10 months, up 14.8 percent year-on-year, and imported $65.6 billion, up 5.9 percent, according to Vietnam Customs.

The value of two-way trade has thus risen to $103.5 billion, making this the third consecutive year that Vietnam-China trade value has crossed $100 billion.

Major export items of Vietnam to China include smartphones, computers, machinery and wood, while imports include computers, machinery, materials for garment and footwear industries and smartphones.

Vietnam’s largest trade partner is also a leading foreign investor. Mainland China ranked third with a total registered FDI of $2.17 billion in the first 10 months, behind Singapore and South Korea.

However, experts have cautioned that the rising imports and FDI from China could imply that Chinese companies are using Vietnam as an intermediary market to export its products to other countries.

There was no major FDI project from mainland China recorded in the first 10 months. Therefore, Vietnam should be aware of its "Made in Vietnam" label being used by Chinese firms to distribute their products globally, said economist Pham Chi Lan.

Vo Dai Luoc, former head of the Institute of World Economics and Politics in Hanoi, said Vietnam still has to rely on China in terms of sourcing materials for manufacturing, while exports to this country remain low.

In terms of FDI, Vietnam needs to filter out Chinese projects that mostly harness manual labor work and bring in outdated technology, which could affect the environment adversely, he added.

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