Vietnam gained a trade surplus of $11.12 billion in 2019, according to the latest statistics from the General Department of Customs. The country's total export value reached $264.189 billion, a year on year increase of 8.4 per cent while imports rose 6.8 per cent to $253.071 billion.
Smartphones, garments and electronic home appliances were among the largest export earners while electronics and machinery were key imports, the data showed. Vietnam’s exports of smartphones and spare parts, mostly produced by Samsung Electronics, rose 4.4 percent in 2019 to $51.38 billion, the department said.
Vietnam, which will serve in 2020 as rotating chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will enjoy the fastest economic growth in the region this year, according to a new forecast from HSBC. Services and exports should drive Cambodia's economic growth to 7% in 2020, Europe's largest bank said. HSBC economist Yun Liu said Vietnam remains a beneficiary of the US-China trade war.
"Likely due to the trade tensions that have accelerated multinational corporations’ relocation decisions, many tech giants, including Apple, Google, Nintendo and Kyocera, have now followed in Samsung’s footsteps and plan to move parts of their production to Vietnam," Liu forecast.
Vietnam’s open trade network makes it an attractive destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). 2019 marked 10 consecutive years of increase in FDI inflow into Vietnam.
South Korea was the top foreign investor, investing $7.9 billion, followed by Hong Kong at $7.8 billion With that surge in new investments, Vietnam’s gross domestic product growth (GDP) grew 7% in 2019, according to the General Statistics Office.
Meanwhile, a new free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union, which could come into force this year, is expected to spur more new investment and expand Vietnam’s trade.
Exports in Vietnam averaged $7097.98 million from 1990 until 2019, reaching an all time high of $25885 million in August of 2019 and a record low of $537 million in February of 1997, according to Trading Economics.