Vietnam was one of the fastest-growing sources of US imports from Asia last quarter, and could potentially overtake the UK as a bigger supplier to the US if it keeps up that pace.
Imports from the Southeast Asian economy jumped 40.2 percent in the first three months of this year from a year earlier, while orders from South Korea rose 18.4 percent, latest US Census Bureau data show. At the same time, US imports of Chinese goods plunged 13.9 percent.
If Vietnam’s pace of growth can be sustained for a full year — which would be a major feat — it could leapfrog Italy, France, the UK and India in the ranks of top exporters to the US.
India would improve two spots and France by one if they keep growing at the same pace for the rest of the year. Ireland would slip by four, and the UK and Italy each would drop two.
Vietnam has become a standout in a region where the world’s export engines largely are hurting amid trade-war tensions and a slowing electronics cycle.
Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Singapore all saw export contractions last month, while Vietnam’s exports gained 7.5 percent from a year earlier.
Vietnam is benefiting from businesses shifting their supply chains in response to increased US tariffs on Chinese goods. It offers low-cost labor and an improving business climate and boasts one of the fastest growth rates in the world.
The calculation of this year’s tally started with the baseline levels of last year’s US imports, using the top 12 economies.
First-quarter growth rates were extrapolated for the full year to estimate the biggest source countries.
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