In 2010, textiles and garment exports reached US$ 10.5 billion with major customers coming from EU and the United States. Italy imported US$ 117 million of Vietnamese textile and garment in the same year. The important events are Viet Nam Fashion Fair held annually in July.
Exports of footwear and leather products have experienced a dramatic increase since the early 1990s. Within less than one decade, footwear and leather products have emerged as one of Viet Nam's most important export sectors. In 2006 exports topped US$ 3.6 billion, making Viet Nam the fourth largest exporter of footwear in the world. Growth has been averaging an exceptional 18% a year between 1999 and 2006. The dominating export market is the EU, accounting for about 60% of Viet Nam's total exports. Being capable of producing both leather and canvas shoes, Viet Nam's competitiveness lies in the combination of the low labour costs and an easily trainable, disciplined and literate work force. Footwear is a highly import dependent industry, with imports accounting for about 80% of the output value.
Although many are medium-sized company, some shoe factories are large, with an annual capacity from 5 to 12 million pairs. Many factories are investing in leather and material, accessories and ensure to meet environmental requirements. Designing and automation are also among top priorities of Vietnamese footwear producers.
The important promotional events in this industry are the International Viet Nam Leather and Footwear Exhibition held every year in June and the International Shoes Fair held in August. Footwear is the biggest commodity that Viet Nam exports to Italy. In 2010 the sales of Vietnamese footwear to Italy was US$ 231 million.
Viet Nam is among the top ten world exporters of fishery products. The country is blessed with a very long coastline of almost 3300 km and huge tidal areas, creating favourable conditions for marine fishing. Viet Nam also possesses vast areas of fresh- and brackish-water suitable for aquaculture. Production is undertaken by offshore, coastal and fresh water fishery, as well as by aquaculture. Marine products include fish, shrimps, cephalopods such as octopus and squid, and mollusks. The fishery industry is a significant contributor to the Vietnamese economy. The sector is important for employment, with a labour force of around 3.4 million persons, and has also had an active role in famine elimination and poverty alleviation among coastal inhabitants. Private small-scale operators dominate the industry.
Viet Nam has also a thriving export sector. Seafood is now one of the highest export earners for the country, behind oil, garments and footwear. Since the Doi Moi policy was introduced in the mid-1980s, seafood exports have been increasing every year. The average annual growth rate from 1990 to 2005 was around 20%. According to Vietnamese statistics, the country exported approximately US$ 2.74 billion worth of marine products in 2005 and US$ 1,43 billion in the first half of 2006.
Most of factories on shrimp (black tiger) are in Ca Mau and Can Tho areas, pangasious catfish (basa in Vietnamese) factories are in the Mekong delta. Celopholods, oysters are concentrated in Ba Ria - Vung Tau, Nha Trang. The other factories in the Nord and the Middle parts produce vannamei shrimp, fish of various types, including tuna and mackerel.
Viet Nam pays special attention to maintaining the quality of exported fishery products, and it established the National Fisheries Inspection and Quality Assurance Center (Nafiqaved) to take this responsibility. All the exported lots go under strict inspection to ensure matching EU, US and Japanese relevant regulations. Almost producers have applied HACCP standard. Viet Nam also implements the biological poison control program and the antibiotic residue control program for aquatic products, which are both recognized by EU.
As a big consumer of fishery products, Italy imports various fish, cephalopods and mollusks from Viet Nam. PanaPesca, a leading Italian company in this industry, has decided to build a processing factory in Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province.
The biggest promotional event is Viet Nam Fisheries International Exhibition (Vietfish) which is organized in June every year in Ho Chi Minh City. In 2010 Italy bought US$ 135 million of fishery products from Viet Nam.
Viet Nam is highly competitive as a coffee producer and exporter due to favourable climate and environmental conditions, low production costs, and yields that are among the highest in the world.
95% of Vietnamese coffee is exported. The coffee production - which consists mainly of the Robusta variety - has grown very rapidly since the late 1980s. Vietnamese Arabica coffee is not much in quantity, but has a good taste. Viet Nam has over a short period of time established itself as a main player among the world exporters. Viet Nam is today the world's second largest coffee exporter and the world's leading exporter of Robusta coffee, and the country is applying for the chairmanship of the International Coffee Organization. In 2006, Viet Nam exported 912 thousand tons of coffee.
Coffee growers mainly concentrate on the Central Highland where there is basaltic red soil with high natural fertility and thick soil layers. There are 124 coffee exporting companies, 10 largest of which accounts for 64% of the total export volume. Some Italian companies already invested in their own factories in Viet Nam to do processing, cleaning coffee. Other Vietnamese companies also invest in producing instant ready-mixed coffee. Ranked number two among coffee sellers to Italy, Vietnamese coffee represents 17% of Italian coffee market. In 2010, Italy imported US$ 115 million of coffee from Viet Nam.
Over the last decade, furniture has been growing continuously and take a significant share in the exports of the country. Most of furniture factories are located in Binh Duong and Binh Dinh provinces. Special style, fine material and reasonable price contribute to the major advantages of Vietnamese wooden furniture. Woodenware of artistic, traditional and modern styles have reflected the multi-characteristic of the people of Viet Nam: skillfulness, laboriousness and exquisite creativity.
The products come in abundant kinds, ranging from outdoor furniture such as garden tables, benches and rocking chairs to indoor furniture including tables, sofas, beds, wardrobes, bookshelves, toys and floorings. Particularly notable are artistic decorative items made of natural wood applied with carvings, engravings, inlayings.
To meet the ever-growing demands, Vietnamese wood producers continuously adapt new technology, upgrade machinery and equipment and improve production chain while gradually perfecting and specializing in designing work.
Furniture is one of the top five largest products that Italy imports from Viet Nam. In 2010, Vietnamese furniture exports to Italy was US$ 39 million. The furniture producers meet every year in International Furniture and Handicraft Fair (October) and Viet Nam International Furniture and Home Accessories Fair (March).
The plastic industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in Viet Nam, showing 20% annual export growth rates over the last five years, and has become one of Viet Nam's major export earners. The products range from plastic canvas, gloves, packing, boards, files, pipes, boxes, sheets to raincoats, bags, lids, doors, tubes, etc.
While most materials and chemicals for production of plastics products are imported, Viet Nam invested a lot in new and modern technology for producing plastic products. Injection, blowing injection, profile technologies are proliferated. Attention has been paid to making of molds because they are decisive to the quality of plastic products, and now most molds are supplied domestically.
Vietnamese plastic products are applying modern technology, splendid design and have reasonable prices. A large volume of these products is used in other industries and the daily life. Viet Nam has more than 2,000 companies operating in this sector, 83% of them are concentrated in Ho Chi Minh City and vicinity. Among the products are PVC, PE, PEVA, EVA films and sheets, PVC, PU synthetic leather, multi-layer flexible film packaging, plastic canvas, plastic bags, etc.
High-quality printing significantly contributes to the quality of packing. Most producers now have 4 or 6-colored printing chains and this helps Vietnamese packing products outreach the world market. A project for DOP production in Dong Nai is expected to meet 50% of demand for important raw materials of the country.
The International Exhibition on Plastic Industry held in June and Vinachem Expo held in December are changes for gathering of plastic producers in Viet Nam. Vietnamese factories supplied US$ 20 million of plastic products to Italy in 2010.
Viet Nam is one of the top five exporters of natural rubber in the world. Rubber, of which 90% is exported, has become one of Viet Nam's most important agricultural export commodities. Vietnamese rubber exports reached 715,000 tons in 2007, with China being Viet Nam's main market, buying about half of the production. Viet Nam currently exports little in higher value processed segments With ambitious plans already underway for expansion of area devoted to rubber production, it is likely that production and exports will increase. Though suffering from low yields and outdated technology, Viet Nam is still cost effective compared to regional competitors. Performance has been very good recently, with substantial increases in both quantity and value. In 2010, Italy bought US$ 28 million of natural rubber from Viet Nam.
Viet Nam has long traditions in artistic handicrafts. The development history of Vietnamese craft villages dates back to thousands of years. There are more than 2,000 craft villages and 1.5 million craftsmen engaged in this industry.
Handicraft products are mainly made from agricultural and forestry material: wood crafts, bamboo, rattan, rush and leafs. There is an enormous selection of delicate, superb items in the form of fine-art interior furniture, statues, decorative articles.
Stone and bronze products are produced in a large quantity with various models. Fine ceramic and lacquer items have found renown in may countries for their uniqueness with rich cultural characteristics and beautiful fashions. Jewelry and goldsmith are typical for some villages and groups.
Embroidery, lace and silk items are very popular. They are diverse in models, rich in types, sophisticated by design. They appear in form of table sheets, blankets, bed sheets, pillows or ornamental items such as pictures.
Thanks to the skillful hands of craftsmen and the application of new techniques, the quality of handicraft artworks made of paper, ivory, horn, glass, coal has been improved very much. This is a dynamic sector for Viet Nam, as growth in exports in value terms was almost five times faster than the world average, at 20% per year. Vietnamese craft items are reputed for their affordable price as well as a large variety of unique and distinct designs owing to its ethnic diversity, the main features that fuel their growing popularity in overseas markets. They have carved a nice in 140 countries throughout the world, including notable markets as EU, Japan and US.
The Vietnamese handicraft product which is most consumed in Italy is embroidery, including table sets, bed sheets, curtains, tea sets, etc. South Italian consumers are especially fond of Vietnamese embroidery. In 2010 Italy consumed US$ 26 million of handicrafts of Vietnamese origin. There are several trade fairs related to handicrafts organized in March, September and October.
Fruits and vegetables
With a wide range of climates including warm tropical, temperate and subtropical, Viet Nam is ideally situated for cultivating vegetables throughout the year. Vietnamese exports of fruits and vegetables have grown strongly since the early 1990s. Viet Nam exports its fruits and vegetables mainly in processed form, especially canned.
The main species of exported fruits are pineapple, banana, mango, litchi, watermelon, longan, dragon fruits and rambutan. There are many other special tropical fruits that have very good tastes like avocado, guava, jackfruit, papaya, pommel, durian, mangosteen, milk fruit, custard, sapodilla, orange, coconut.
Exported vegetables include cucumbers, potatoes, onions, garlic, tomatoes, beans, cauliflowers and chili. While the fruits and vegetables sold in the domestic market are mainly in unprocessed form, Viet Nam's exports are mostly in processed form, mostly canned, but also to some extent dried, frozen, syrup and juices. Viet Nam also exports flowers, mainly from Da Lat, a city located on the Central highland. A flower festival is held annually in December to showcase flower varieties and help to boost business transactions.
Pepper and other spices
Viet Nam is a major exporter of spices, with a 5% world market share. In black pepper, the most important crop for Viet Nam within this sector, Viet Nam has become the world's largest exporter. The Vietnamese pepper sector is much export-oriented, with exports accounting for about 95% of the production.
Cashew and other nuts
Viet Nam's export performance for nuts over the last years has been impressive, especially for cashew nuts which are by far the main exported product within the nuts sector, followed by ground nuts (peanuts). Viet Nam exported more than 100,000 tons of cashew nuts in 2004, making cashew one of Viet Nam's most important agricultural exports after rice, coffee and rubber. Viet Nam has over the last years built out its capacity for processing and as a result shifted from an exporter of raw cashew to processed. With a world market share of 25%, Viet Nam has established itself as a leading player in the world: it has become the world's second largest exporter of shelled cashew nuts after India, and before Brazil.
There are more than 150 companies involved in vegetable processing. Most of fruit and vegetable processing are equipped with modern machinery and equipment, and most have adopted quality management certification (ISO 9001 and HAACP). Managers of the facilities are thoroughly familiar with the Quality Standard that prospective importing countries require, particularly in minimal chemical residues (MRL) and Good Agriculture Practice.
The most important annual exhibitions in this area are Viet Nam International Agriculture Fair, held in December in Can Tho, and Food and Drink Viet Nam, held in November in Ha Noi.
In 2010, Italy has imported US$ 13 million of fruits and vegetables from Viet Nam, in which US$ 7 million devoted to cashew nut. Italy ranks the 10th among the biggest importers of Vietnamese fruits and vegetables.
Cables and wires
Viet Nam has currently about 60 businesses producing and trading high quality electric wires, cables and conductors at reasonable prices, many of which produced in modern and large-scale production lines. Exports have grown significantly in recent years, and are concentrated on the Japanese market. However, the export potential appears medium, partly because of government policy that does not seem particularly supportive of the industry.
Information and communication technology
Information and communication technology is among the top growing industries of the country. In 2008, the monthly telephone penetration rate is 5% with the ratio of telephone per head reaching 82.5. There are about 20 million Internet users in Viet Nam, accounting 24% of population. There are hundreds of companies specialized in software, most of them are being outsourced from foreign companies.
Viet Nam possesses a big opportunity for tourism. The country with many beautiful sceneries is an attractive destination for many visitors, especially those from Europe, America, Korea and Japan. The most visited places are Ha Long Bay, Ha Noi, Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Vung Tau, Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc.
With the living standards being raised, many Vietnameses are now going abroad for tourism. Italy has been long well known as a very famous country with a long history and culture, therefore many Vietnameses wish to come to Roma, Florence, Venice, Naples, Milano. However, the actual flow of tourists are still low, partly because of the lack of direct flights between the two countries.
Vietnamese banks are changing very fast in the recent years. There are now 5 state-owned banks and more than forty joint-stock banks. In the wave of globalization, many banks are seeking their strategic partners among the foreign banks who buy part of shares of the local banks. Most of the banks are using modern technology to improve their quality of service, reduce the time of transaction and deploy new services.
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