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.