Mubasher: Vietnam recorded a big trade surplus over the first half of this year, as the Southeast Asian nation reaped benefits from the protracted trade conflict its two biggest trade allies, the US and China.
Vietnamese trade surplus came in at $1.59 billion in the period between January and June, versus a government forecast of $43 million deficit, the Customs Department data showed.
For June, the Asian country posted a trade surplus of $1.93 billion, compared with projection of $400 million surplus.
At a time when Vietnam’s trade surplus with the US was swelling, its deficit with China continued to expand, compelling President Donald Trump to threaten tariffs on products from Vietnam.
Last month, President Trump complained that Vietnam treated the US “even worse” than China.
The US Commerce Department last week said tariffs of up to 456% would be levied on certain steel products made in South Korea or Taiwan, which are shipped to Vietnam for minor processing, and eventually exported to the US. The re-route of products aimed to circumvent US duties.
Vietnam’s surplus with the US grew to $17.1 billion in the five months ending last May, compared with $12.94 billion a year earlier.
Trade surplus with China widened to $16.29 billion, up from $11.05 billion in the first five months of this year.
Exports during the period ended last June climbed by 7.2% year-on-year to $122.53 billion, as shipments to the US soared by 27.4% and South Korea by 16.8%.
Vietnam’s largest export portion came from smartphones, mostly manufactured by South Korean giant Samsung Electronics. Smartphone shipments went up by 3.9% to $23.5 billion from a year ago.
Vietnamese exports declined by 2.2% to $21.43 billion last June, from the previous month, while imports fell by 15.9% to $19.49 billion.