The leather and footwear sector expects to surpass its target of 9.7 billion USD in turnover this year, as many Japanese importers have shifted their orders from China to Vietnam.

Turnover is expected to increase even more if the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Vietnam and the EU are signed.

Many importers, including those from Japan, have shifted orders from China to Vietnam. Exporters already have had orders through the first quarter of next year, according to the Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association.

Luu Van Thanh, director of Hoang Kim Handbag Ltd Co in Ho Chi Minh City’s Binh Tan District, said the company has been meeting with visiting Japanese groups nearly every day. He said he has never seen this many Japanese businesses coming to Vietnam.

Thanh's company, which employs 100 people, exports all of its products, to Switzerland, Germany, France, and Japan.

Many importers viewed Vietnamese standards for handbag production as higher than those of other ASEAN countries such as Indonesia, Cambodia and Myanmar, he said.

Truong Thi Thuy Lien, director of Lien Phat Footwear Ltd Co in Binh Duong province, said that after two months of surveying the market and sending samples, her company has received its first orders from a Japanese partner.

The company's export orders are full until the end of the year, according to Lien.

The leather and footwear association said the TPP and FTA would cut tariffs to zero percent, which would make Vietnamese exports more competitive with China and India .

In the first six months of the year, the footwear sector earned more than 3.99 billion USD in turnover, an increase of nearly 14 percent compared to the same period last year.

The US accounts for 32 percent of export turnover (1.27 billion USD).

Bag and suitcase products also saw an export growth rate of 22 percent in the first six months, with a turnover of 911 million USD.

Exports to the US accounted for 44 percent of total export turnover (391 million USD), an increase of nearly 30 percent over the same period last year.-VNA