As Us-china Trade War Heats Up, Viet­nam’s Shoe Ex­ports Rise

Shoes & Accessories - - The Month That Was -

Viet­nam is step­ping up its footwear ex­ports as it makes a play to cap­ture some of the busi­ness once dom­i­nated by China. The coun­try ex­ported nearly $11.8 bil­lion worth of footwear between Jan­uary and Septem­ber of this year, a 10.5 per­cent in­crease over last year’s to­tal, said its Min­istry of In­dus­try and Trade. It ranks sec­ond af­ter China among the U.S.’S big­gest sources of footwear, ex­port­ing 404 mil­lion pairs of shoes to Amer­ica in 2017.

The up­ward trend is likely to con­tinue, too, as ris­ing wages in China in­crease the cost of goods pro­duced there and the coun­try di­rects more of its man­u­fac­tur­ing re­sources to­ward pricier goods like elec­tron­ics.

Adi­das, for in­stance, said in May that Viet­nam had over­taken China as its top sup­plier for footwear, with Viet­namese fac­to­ries pro­duc­ing 44 per­cent of its shoes by vol­ume in 2017, up from 31 per­cent in 2012, and Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­ers sup­ply­ing 19 per­cent, down from more than 30 per­cent in 2012.

This bal­ance could help shield the com­pany from po­ten­tial tar­iffs or sup­ply chain dis­rup­tions if Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s trade war with China con­tin­ues to es­ca­late, a fact that com­peti­tors seem to be tak­ing no­tice of. Puma, for one, said this spring that its sourc­ing team was hard at work cre­at­ing a con­tin­gency plan in case trade with China, which pro­duces about a third of its prod­ucts, is dis­rupted.

The growth in goods com­ing from Viet­nam would no doubt be even greater had Trump not de­cided to pull out of the 11-coun­try Trans-pa­cific Part­ner­ship shortly af­ter tak­ing of­fice. The agree­ment, led largely by Ja­pan and Canada, was de­signed to lower trade bar­ri­ers through­out the Asia-pa­cific re­gion and stymie China’s grow­ing power, and was pro­jected to save the shoe in­dus­try $6 bil­lion in taxes over a 10-year pe­riod.

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