Vietnam’s Top Five Export Sectors (2013)

As one of the world’s production powerhouses, Vietnam has large export sectors in a range of manufactured products, from basic goods like garments and textiles to high value-added products like computer hardware. According to the International Trade Centre (ITC), the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations, total exports reached $138 billion in 2013. Its top exports that year were as follows: 

VN Top 5 export sectors
Electrical and electronic equipment sector was Vietnam’s top export in 2013 by a wide margin, generating $38.4 billion and accounted for 27.8% of Vietnam’s exports. This made Vietnam the world’s 12th largest exporter of electronic equipment that year, and one of the fastest-growing electronics export markets anywhere. The $23 billion hardware sub-sector showed particularly high growth. 

After electrical and electronic equipment, Vietnam’s second-largest export sector in 2013 was apparel and accessories, which accounted for 13.2% of total exports. This number includes both knit and non-knit apparel, which are classified as separate categories under the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System that the ITC uses. 

The machinery sector was the third-largest export sector in 2013, accounting for 8.7% of total exports that year after growing at a rate of 187.6% in the three preceding years. Vietnam’s General Office of Statistics (GOS) reports much smaller numbers for total size of machinery exports, probably because they do not report in accordance with the Harmonized System. 

The footwear and shoe parts sector, at 8.4% of total exports, was the fourth largest export sector that year. As with the apparel sectors, this sector shows potential for future growth on account of rising production costs in China and country-specific problems in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Cambodia, all of which compete in apparel and footwear. 

The fifth largest export sector in 2013 was mineral fuels and oils, which generated $8.3 billion and accounted for 6.0% of total exports that year. It was the only export sector that declined in the past three years, off from its peak of $11 billion last year. The decline can be explained by increasing domestic consumption, which doubled in Vietnam between 2000 and 2012.