The Socialist Republic of Vietnam exported US$281.4 billion worth of products in 2020. That dollar metric reflects a 59.4% increase from $176.6 billion five years earlier in 2016.
Year over year, the overall value of Vietnamese exports slowed to a 6.4% gain compared to $264.6 billion one year for 2020.
Applying a continental lens, almost half (49.8%) of Vietnam’s exports by value were delivered to fellow Asian countries while 30.4% were sold to importers in North America. Vietnam shipped another 15.7% worth of goods to Europe.
Smaller percentages went to Latin America (1.8%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, Oceania’s Australia and New Zealand (1.5%), then Africa (1%).
Vietnam’s Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 25 of Vietnam’s top trading partners. These are countries that imported the most Vietnamese shipments by dollar value during 2020. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Vietnamese exports.
- United States: US$77.1 billion (27.4% of total Vietnamese exports)
- China: $48.9 billion (17.4%)
- Japan: $19.3 billion (6.8%)
- South Korea: $19.1 billion (6.8%)
- Hong Kong: $10.4 billion (3.7%)
- Netherlands: $7 billion (2.5%)
- Germany: $6.6 billion (2.4%)
- India: $5.2 billion (1.9%)
- United Kingdom: $5 billion (1.8%)
- Thailand: $4.9 billion (1.7%)
- Canada: $4.4 billion (1.5%)
- Taiwan: $4.3 billion (1.5%)
- Cambodia: $4.2 billion (1.5%)
- United Arab Emirates: $3.9 billion (1.4%)
- Australia: $3.62 billion (1.3%)
- Philippines: $3.56 billion (1.3%)
- Malaysia: $3.4 billion (1.2%)
- France: $3.3 billion (1.2%)
- Mexico: $3.2 billion (1.1%)
- Italy: $3.1 billion (1.1%)
- Singapore: $3 billion (1.1%)
- Austria: $2.9 billion (1%)
- Russia: $2.85 billion (1%)
- Indonesia: $2.82 billion (1%)
- Belgium: $2.3 billion (0.8%)
By dollar value, a formidable 90.4% of Vietnamese exports in 2020 was delivered to the above 25 trade partners.
From 2019 to 2020, the fastest-growing customers for exported goods from Vietnam were Hong Kong (up 45.7%), United States of America (up 25.5%), mainland China (up 18%), Mexico (up 11.6%) then Canada (up 9.9%).
Posting double-digit declines year over year were buyers in India (down -21.6%), United Arab Emirates (down -18.1%), Indonesia (down -16.2%), United Kingdom (down -14%), France (down -12%), Austria (down -11.7%) and Malaysia (down -10.6%).
Countries Causing Largest Trade Deficits for Vietnam
As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit. It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.
Vietnam incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries.
- China: -US$35.3 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2020)
- South Korea: -$27.7 billion
- Taiwan: -$12.4 billion
- Thailand: -$6 billion
- Ireland: -$3.9 billion
- Malaysia: -$3.2 billion
- Kuwait: -$3.1 billion
- Argentina: -$2.8 billion
- Indonesia: -$2.6 billion
- Brazil: -$1.1 billion
Among Vietnam’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Vietnamese deficits with Brazil (up 80.5%), Ireland (up 66.7%) and Taiwan (up 14.9%) grew at the fastest pace from 2019 to 2020.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Vietnam’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Vietnam to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
Countries Generating Best Trade Surpluses for Vietnam
Vietnam incurred an overall $20.1 billion trade surplus during 2020, expanding by 80.3% from the $11.2 billion in black ink one year earlier in 2019.
Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.
Vietnam generated the highest trade surpluses with the following countries.
- United States: US$63.3 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2020)
- Hong Kong: $9.3 billion
- Netherlands: $6.3 billion
- United Kingdom: $4.3 billion
- Canada: $3.6 billion
- United Arab Emirates: $3.5 billion
- Germany: $3.3 billion
- Cambodia: $3 billion
- Mexico: $2.64 billion
- Austria: $2.58 billion
Among Vietnam’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Vietnamese surpluses with Hong Kong (up 59.7%), United States of America (up 34.6%) and Mexico (up 20.7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2019 to 2020.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Vietnam’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Vietnam to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Companies Servicing Vietnamese Trading Partners
A pair of Vietnamese corporations ranks 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.
- Danang Rubber Company (rubber)
- DOJI Gold and Gems Group (gold, jewelry)
- FPT Group (information technology)
- Habeco (beer)
- Hoa Phat Group (metals)
- Petrovietnam Gas (petroleum/natural gas)
- Samsung Electronics (electronics)
- Viettel Group (telecommunications)
- Vinamilk (dairy products)
- World Auto (cars, motorcycles)
See also Vietnam Top 10 Exports, Vietnam Top 10 Imports, Lebanon’s Top 10 Exports, Greece’s Top 10 Exports, United Kingdom’s Top Trading Partners and Syria’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Asia: Vietnam. Accessed on August 20, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 20, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on August 20, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 20, 2022
Wikipedia, Vietnam. Accessed on August 20, 2022
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Vietnam. Accessed on August 20, 2022