Vietnam’s exports to EU, US see sharp downturn in 2023

The Southeast Asian economy's trade surplus, however, remained positive at $125 billion this year, $33 billion with the EU and $92 billion with the US.

Viet Nam News

Viet Nam News



Vietnamese handicrafts on display at a trade fair in Milan, Italy. PHOTO: VNA/VNS

January 3, 2024

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam’s exports to the EU and the US in 2023 were estimated to reach around US$166 billion, a 9.6 per cent decrease while imports were estimated at nearly $41 billion, a 9.1 per cent decrease in comparison to 2022.

The Southeast Asian economy’s trade surplus, however, remained positive at $125 billion this year, $33 billion with the EU and $92 billion with the US.

“With a large open economy, Việt Nam’s import-export activities are directly affected by the global economic downturn in the first half of 2023 and the slow and uneven recovery of world economies in the second half of 2023,” said Tạ Hoàng Linh, head of the European and American Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

In the first 10 months of 2023, the EU reduced its imports from non-EU markets by nearly 16 per cent, and the US reduced its imports from world markets by 6 per cent. Despite inflation being somewhat contained, it remained high, coupled with pressures from geopolitical instability, and profound changes in behaviour and consumption habits in the EU and the US, making it challenging to sustain a high level of import, according to a recent report by the IMF.

Việt Nam’s export turnover to the EU and US saw a sharp decrease with exports to the EU reaching $43.7 billion, a 6.7 per cent decrease year-on-year, while exports to the US reaching $96.9 billion, a 12.4 per cent decrease year-on-year. Only exports to the UK, countries in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), countries in the Southern Common Market (Mercosur), and some smaller markets witnessed growth of 3.1 per cent, 12.7 per cent, and 10 per cent, respectively.

Major export items, including machinery, equipment, spare parts; phones, computers, and components; computers, electronic products, and components; textiles; leather shoes and bags; wood and wood products; and seafood, have all seen an average decrease of over 10 per cent compared to 2022.

Meanwhile, some other items have seen good growth including cameras, camcorders, and components increased by 27 per cent; various types of iron and steel increased by 23.5 per cent. Particularly, some agricultural products such as rice increased by 53.3 per cent; cashews increased by 10.2 per cent; fruits and vegetables increased by 10.2 per cent.

While trade has been slowing down, thanks to effective FTAs with European and American market partners, including the EVFTA, CPTPP, and UKFTA, the positive impact continues, maintaining Việt Nam’s advantages in trade and investment activities in 2024.

Regarding trade promotion, Trần Thu Quỳnh, a Vietnamese commercial counsellor in Canada, said that among CPTPP member countries, Việt Nam had very good leverage to accelerate the export of goods to Canada with the estimated export to Canada in 2023 at over $5.7 billion.

Linh said that the European and American Market Department (Ministry of Industry and Trade) would closely monitor the market, and promptly grasp information about the economic, political, and policy situation in the region and globally affecting trade with Việt Nam. This would enable early warnings to the business community and provide policy recommendations to the government for appropriate responses. — VNS

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