Vietnam’s rising textile exports to China is a promising sign, although it remains to be a big importer of textile feedstock and accessories from China. China is one of Vietnam’s top five textile export markets, China is one of Vietnam’s top five textile export markets. Vietnam’s textile and garment exports were worth $31 bn last year.

Vietnam often imports raw materials also from South Korea and Taiwan. South Korean products cost a fourth of Chinese products while Taiwanese products cost a fifth. Customs data shows imports from China in 2017 were high at $9 bn, or 42.7 per cent of all textile-related imports, and 12 per cent higher than in 2016. Last year, Vietnam’s imports from China included over $6 bn worth of silk, $2 bn worth of leather and $800 mn worth of threads.

According to the Vietnam Textile & Apparel Association (Vitas), textile exports to China have been rising steadily, going up from $2.2 bn in 2015 to $3.2 bn last year. Vitas expects the figure to continue rising. Since that country has the world’s largest population, its market can be extensively segmented offering a great opportunity for local textile products. China’s imports of Vietnamese textile products are not taxed because of the ASEAN – China Free Trade Area while imports from countries such as India and Pakistan incur a 3–5 per cent tax.