~ Le ViÍt Nam, aujourd'hui. ~
The Vietnam News

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Vietnam Passes 4 to Reach List of Top 30 Exporters to the U.S.

Vietnam moved past Chile, Colombia, the Philippines and Spain in 2007 to reach the list of the top 30 exporters to the U.S., driven by stronger sales of clothing, furniture, electrical equipment and coffee. Vietnam's shipments to the U.S., its top market, climbed 25 percent last year to $10.54 billion, according to figures released on the U.S. International Trade Commission's Web site. Exports to the U.S. increased 30 percent in 2006 and 26 percent in the previous year.

The level of Vietnamese sales to the U.S. is now more than 10 times the figure in 2001, when a tariff-cutting trade pact between the two nations came into effect. The Southeast Asian nation's move up the charts may not yet be finished, as last year's growth was achieved even as a stronger currency toward the end of 2007 made its exports less competitive. ``I see nothing in the way of Vietnam continuing to climb up that list,'' said Adam Sitkoff, executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam in Hanoi. ``Vietnam is a very competitive place to manufacture a wide variety of products, so export growth to the U.S. isn't just tied to one sector.'' Shipments of apparel jumped 36 percent to $4.29 billion, as Vietnam took advantage of the end of U.S. quotas after its January 2007 accession to the World Trade Organization. Further growth in apparel exports is limited by issues including a ``lack of deepwater ports and other transport infrastructure and electric power, and growing labor issues, such as shortages of workers, sharply increasing labor costs, and illegal strikes,'' the American Chamber of Commerce in Ho Chi Minh City said, in an e-mail sent to members today.

Furniture, Footwear

Furniture shipments also climbed 36 percent, reaching $1.23 billion, to push the product past shoes as Vietnam's second- biggest export to the U.S. Footwear exports advanced 8 percent to $1.03 billion. Seafood shipments to the U.S. gained 6 percent to $692 million, while exports of electrical machinery and equipment jumped 67 percent to $350 million. Exports of coffee to the U.S. from the world's second-biggest producer increased 52 percent to $307 million.

During Vietnam's crop year ended Sept. 30, 2007, ``there was a detectable rush by farmers to sell most of their coffee to take advantage of the high price,'' Fortis Bank SA/NV and VM Group said in a report last month on agricultural commodities. Crude oil exports to the U.S. fell 18 percent to $446 million, as state-owned Vietnam Oil & Gas Corp.'s output slipped for a third straight year. ``Vietnam could see a temporary production surge'' this year for crude oil, as new fields are brought on-line, the International Energy Agency said in a Feb. 13 report.

U.S. exports to Vietnam surged 84 percent in 2007 to $1.82 billion, paced by a more than six-fold jump in car shipments to $217 million. The U.S. trade deficit with Vietnam widened 17 percent in 2007 to $8.72 billion.

By Jason Folkmanis - Bloomberg - February 18, 2008.