Vietnam’s footwear industry sees many favourable conditions to boost its exports as most local businesses have received steady orders for the second and third quarters of 2013.

According to the Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso), many Vietnamese producers are now turning to new markets, including the US and Japan, in addition to their traditional consumers in the EU.

Statistics from the Vietnam General Department of Customs show that the footwear export turnover hit 1.73 billion USD by the end of March, or a year-on-year increase of 16.1 percent, making it one of the country’s key 10 export items with total earnings in the first quarter of 2013 surpassing 1 billion USD.

The upcoming signing of the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement is expected to bring more advantages to the industry.

The TPP alone will help Vietnam penetrate into a larger market of 2.7 billion consumers that makes up half the global GDP.

In addition, tariffs levied on imports to the US, one of Vietnam’s key markets, will be slashed to zero percent from the current 14.3 percent on average.

Footwear and leather exports to TPP member states are expected to account for more than 47 percent of the sector’s total value, with the US having the share of 31 percent.

The Japanese market is also forecast to contribute significantly to the sector’s 20 percent growth in orders this year, especially since the Tokyo Business Association sent 10 footwear businesses to Vietnam to conduct market research at the end of last year.

Over half of these businesses have subsequently decided to shift their orders from other markets to Vietnam.

The industry targets 9.7 billion USD in revenues this year, an increase of 10 percent over 2012.-VNA