|Workers produce shoes for export. Viet Nam's footwear exports reached US$5.85 billion for the first six months of this year, the General Department of Customs reports. — Photo moit.gov.vn
HCM CITY (VNS) — Vietnamese footwear exports rose 21.2 per cent against the same period last year to more than US$5.85 billion for the first six months of the year, the General Department of Customs reported.
The figure is expected to reach $14 billion by the end of the year, according to the Viet Nam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association (Lefaso).
Of the figure for the first half of the year, exports to the US increased by 30.2 per cent to $2 billion, equal to export earnings from the EU, which saw a growth of 17 per cent.
The EU continues to be the largest importer of Vietnamese footwear.
In 2009, footwear exports to the US totalled about $1 billion, half of the value earned from the EU market.
Truong Thi Thuy Lien, director of Lien Phat Footwear Company in the southern province of Binh Duong, said footwear exports rose in the second quarter of this year.
Most footwear enterprises had orders up to the end of February next year, she said.
Both foreign direct-invested and local businesses are focusing on the US market, she added.
According to statistics from the Office of Textiles and Apparel at the US Department of Commerce, the US imports about 78 per cent of footwear from China and 12 per cent from Viet Nam.
However, footwear imports from China have fallen steadily since 2010, the US office said.
Meanwhile, imports from other Asian countries, particularly from Viet Nam, have increased sharply in recent years as US businesses try to become less dependent on Chinese imports.
Nguyen Duc Thuan, president of the Viet Nam Leather and Footwear Association, said the industry was likely to fulfill its target of $14.5 billion in exports this year, with an annual growth of 20 per cent set by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Last year, Viet Nam exported $10.34 billion worth of footwear, a rise of 23 per cent over the previous year, making up 6.89 per cent of the country's total exports, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
In December, footwear exports totalled $1.08 billion, an increase of 13.8 per cent over November.
Last year, Vietnamese footwear was exported to more than 40 markets, including the US, EU, Japan, China and South Korea.
Of the markets, footwear exports to the US registered a yearly growth rate of 26.7 per cent to $3.33 billion.
The US market alone made up 32.2 per cent of the country's total footwear exports last year.
According to Lefaso, the footwear industry's competitive capacity has increased because of improvement in technology and equipment. — VNS