Vietnam’s Top 10 Exports

Vietnamese flag by


The eastern-most nation on Southeast Asia’s Indochina Peninsula, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam shipped US$246.9 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017. That dollar amount reflects an 87% gain since 2013 and a 39.8% increase from 2016 to 2017.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Vietnam’s exported goods plus services represent 98.6% of total Vietnamese economic output or Gross Domestic Product. Please note that the overall value of exported goods and services includes a sizable share of re-exports. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

Given Vietnam’s population of 96.2 million people, its total $246.9 billion in 2017 exports translates to roughly $2,600 for every resident in that country.

Vietnam’s unemployment rate was 3.18% in December 2017 down from 3.23% during 2018, according to CEIC Data.

Vietnam’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Vietnamese global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Vietnam.

At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Vietnam’s most valuable exported products are mobile phones followed by electronic integrated circuits, footwear, miscellaneous furniture, television/radio/radar device parts, then printing machinery.

  1. Electrical machinery, equipment: US$94 billion (38.1% of total exports)
  2. Footwear: $19.9 billion (8%)
  3. Machinery including computers: $14.6 billion (5.9%)
  4. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $13.8 billion (5.6%)
  5. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $13 billion (5.3%)
  6. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $8.9 billion (3.6%)
  7. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $5.6 billion (2.3%)
  8. Fish: $5 billion (2%)
  9. Coffee, tea, spices: $4.6 billion (1.9%)
  10. Leather/animal gut articles: $4 billion (1.6%)

Vietnam’s top 10 exports accounted for almost three-quarters (74.3%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Electrical machinery and equipment was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 64.3% from 2016 to 2017.

In second place for improving Vietnam’s export sales was furniture, bedding, lighting, signs and prefab buildings via a 52.4% gain.

Vietnamese machinery including computers posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 50.9%.

Year over year, two top categories declined: coffee, tea and spices (down -4.3%) and fish (down -3.8%).


Overall, Vietnam posted a $13.6 billion trade surplus during 2017, up by 750.8% from the $1.6 billion in black ink for 2016.

The following types of Vietnamese product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Electrical machinery, equipment: US$33.2 billion (Up by 251.1% since 2016)
  2. Footwear: $18.3 billion (Up by 43.4%)
  3. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $11.8 billion (Up by 12.2%)
  4. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $11.6 billion (Up by 2.3%)
  5. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $7.6 billion (Up by 44.9%)
  6. Coffee, tea, spices: $3.9 billion (Down by -15.7%)
  7. Leather/animal gut articles: $3.5 billion (Up by 21.7%)
  8. Rubber, rubber articles: $2 billion (Up by 84.1%)
  9. Meat/seafood preparations: $1.8 billion (Down by -0.8%)
  10. Wood: $1.5 billion (Up by 191.6%)

Vietnam has highly positive net exports in the international trade of electrical machinery and equipment. In turn, these cashflows indicate Vietnam’s strong competitive advantages under the electrical products category.


Below are exports from Vietnam that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Vietnam’s goods trail Vietnamese importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Machinery including computers: -US$10.8 billion (Down by -2.3% since 2016)
  2. Plastics, plastic articles: -$8.5 billion (Up by 4.4%)
  3. Iron, steel: -$7.4 billion (Up by 7.9%)
  4. Mineral fuels including oil: -$7 billion (Up by 69.1%)
  5. Knit or crochet fabric: -$5.6 billion (Up by 70.1%)
  6. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$3.6 billion (Up by 1,091%)
  7. Vehicles: -$3.4 billion (Up by 19.4%)
  8. Organic chemicals: -$3.1 billion (Up by 29.9%)
  9. Meat: -$2.6 billion (Up by 1,032%)
  10. Manmade filaments: -$2.5 billion (Up by 78.2%)

Vietnam has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the machinery including computers category, notably electric sound or visual signalling apparatus and printed circuits.


Vietnamese Export Companies

Two Vietnamese corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. One company, Vietin Bank is a regional bank.

The other large business, Petrovietnam Gas is part of the following list of Vietnamese international trade businesses:

  • Petrovietnam Gas (petroleum/natural gas)
  • Samsung Electronics (electronics)
  • Viettel Group (telecommunications)
  • Vinamilk (dairy products)
  • DOJI Gold and Gems Group (gold, jewelry)
  • FPT Group (information technology)
  • Hoa Phat Group (metals)
  • Habeco (beer)
  • World Auto (cars, motorcycles)
  • Danang Rubber Company (rubber)

Vietnam’s capital is Hanoi, a city nicknamed “Paris of the Orient” and “Paris of the East”.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

See also Vietnam’s Top 10 Imports and Top Asian Export Countries

Research Sources:
CEIC Data, Vietnam Unemployment Rate, 1997-2017 macroeconomic data. Accessed on May 14, 2018

Forbes, 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on May 14, 2018

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on May 14, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 14, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on May 14, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on May 14, 2018

Wikipedia, Hanoi. Accessed on May 14, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Vietnam. Accessed on May 14, 2018

Wikipedia, Vietnam. Accessed on May 14, 2018