Vietnam enjoys $17bn trade surplus with US in Jan-Aug
Vietnam ran a US$17.2 billion trade surplus with the U.S. in the first eight months of this year, a 20.3 percent rise from $14.3 billion the country earned in the same period last year, according to official figures from the General Statistics Office (GSO).
The Southeast Asian nation raked in $22.1 billion from exports to the U.S., while spending $4.9 on importing American products during the eight-month period, the GSO said.
The U.S. has remained Vietnam’s largest export market among 200 countries and territories worldwide, a position it took over from the EU, which had held it since 2012, at the end of last year.
Vietnam earned $28.5 billion from shipments to the U.S. in 2014, up 19.6 percent compared with 2013, according to the GSO.
Of the nearly 40 groups of exported goods shipped to the U.S., garment-textile generated the largest turnover, nearly $6.3 billion, accounting for 33.4 percent of the total.
The next top groups include footwear ($2.36 billion), telephones and telephone parts ($1.53 billion), computers, electronic products and components ($1.5 billion), wood and wood products ($1.45 billion).
Meanwhile, the U.S.’ main exports to Vietnam were telephones and telephone parts ($842.8 million), machinery, equipment, and components ($587 million), and fabrics ($527 million).
The group of fabrics may have the chance to grow in the coming time after Vietnam signs the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement, according to news website VnEconomy.
The agreement is a proposed regional free trade pact aimed at eliminating tariffs and lowering non-tariff barriers that is being negotiated by 12 countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam.
However, joining the TPP will also cause a new challenge for Vietnamese textile and garment businesses, as the Southeast Asian country will have to follow the “yarn forward rule of origin,” which means that all items in a garment from the yarn stage onward must be made in one of the countries party to the pact, according to the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam.
Currently, about 60-90 percent of garment and textile materials in Vietnam come from non-TPP markets like China, Taiwan, and India.
Shipments of Vietnamese garment and textile products to the U.S. are expected to top $11 billion this year, a 12.24 percent year-on-year rise, the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association said in a report in July.