|A production line of Hunex Co in Da Nang City. Footwear exports to Thailand hit US$25.87 million last year. — VNA/VNS Photo
HA NOI (VNS) — The value of Viet Nam's footwear exports to Thailand has increased sharply in the past four years, jumping from US$6.6 million in 2010 to $25.87 million in 2013.
According to the General Department of Viet Nam Customs, in January 2014 Vietnam shipped $2.01 million worth of footwear to Thailand and since 2012, the country's monthly footwear export value to Thailand has been above $1 million on average.
Thailand has become one of Viet Nam's four largest footwear importers in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the department said.
Nguyen Van Khanh, chairman of the Leather and Footwear Association in District 4, HCM City, said that Vietnam will have opportunities to ink more contracts with Thailand in the labour-intensive sector, as the partner country will stop producing its own footwear sometime in the future, reports Vneconomy.
Apart from a shortage of labour, Thailand is facing challenges posed by the unstable baht, the high labour cost and fierce competition from other producers, Khanh said.
He added that many small-and medium-sized footwear producers in Thailand have had to suspend operations and export materials to foreign countries, including Viet Nam. Currently, several Thai businesses are seeking to bring their production lines to other markets with cheaper labour costs, experts said, noting that this could be an opportunity for the Vietnamese footwear industry.
Several months ago, a delegation of 30 Thai businesses operating in the sector visited Viet Nam to seek long-term investment opportunities.
Kanchit Juntanapornchai, chairman of the Association of Thai Footwear Industrial Promotion, said that a number of Thai businesses wished to import Vietnamese footwear to service their domestic and export demands.
He suggested that Viet Nam should take advantage of the uncertainty in the sector in other countries by improving the quality of its own services and products.
According to Diep Thanh Kiet, vice chairman of the Viet Nam Leather and Footwear Association, Thailand boasts of a strong footwear industry as the country not only sells products of well-known brands and importers worldwide, but also establishes distribution networks in foreign countries. — VNS