China may become Vietnam’s largest export destination by 2030. Right now, the US is Vietnam’s largest export market. The US and Vietnam enjoy historically strong commercial linkages and by 2030 the US will still account for 15 per cent of Vietnam’s exports.
Clothing and apparel are expected to top Vietnam’s exports, contributing almost 20 per cent to total merchandise exports. Vietnam’s infrastructure has improved over the last decade, supported by higher FDI inflows and reflecting strong growth. Substantial infrastructure development means industrial machinery will continue to be Vietnam’s largest import sector through 2030, contributing around a quarter of import growth over the forecast period.
Vietnam’s biggest imports will be from China and South Korea through 2030. As well as having strong footholds in the global market for industrial machinery, the two countries also present relatively easy transport logistics, with China sharing a border with Vietnam and South Korea just a short journey by sea.
Imports from India will also grow strongly, contributing 14 per cent of total import growth by 2030, propelling India past Singapore to become Vietnam’s third largest import partner. Mobile phones and associated items accounted for 16 per cent of Vietnam’s exports in 2014, while electronics, computers and components accounted for another eight per cent, leaving the electronics sector accounting for a quarter of Vietnam’s total exports.