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US footwear importers tap Vietnam at China’s expense    11/06/2019
US tariffs on Chinese-made goods are accelerating a long-term shift in the sourcing of footwear from Vietnam, with nearly one in four Asia-made pairs now coming from the Southeast Asian country.

The share of Asia-made footwear sourced from Vietnam rose 2.3 percentage points, to 24.2 percent, between 2017 and 2018, while the share of Chinese footwear imports fell 1.7 percentage points, to 64.3 percent, in the same period, according to PIERS, a sister product of within IHS Markit. Total US footwear imports from Asia rose to 418,662 last year from 397,902 in 2017.

Vietnam’s market share is up from 13.7 percent in 2014. Volumes of footwear shipped to the US have almost doubled during that time, from 53,229 TEU to 101,326 TEU. Comparatively, US importers last year sourced 64.3 percent of Asian footwear imports from China, down from 70.1 percent in 2014. Total footwear volumes from China have also fallen, from 273,102 TEU in 2014 to 269,145 TEU last year, the data showed.

Container carrier partnerships in the eastbound trans-Pacific are responding to Vietnam’s growing export and import markets by adding new direct links between the country and the US West Coast. As manufacturing wages in coastal China increase and reciprocal tariffs dampen US-China trade, production is migrating to Vietnam. US exports of manufacturing inputs, such as cotton for the production of apparel, offer backhaul potential for carriers

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong’s market share of US footwear imports has fallen steadily, from 8.7 percent five years ago to 3.7 percent in 2018. Volumes have been more than halved -- from 34,016 TEU in 2014 to 15,473 TEU last year.

Hong Kong’s decline has dropped it behind Indonesia, which is now the third-largest US footwear importer from Asia. Indonesia had a 5.2 percent market share in 2018 on volumes of 21,799 TEU.

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