In contrast to most of its neighbours in emerging Asia, Vietnam maintained double-digit export growth in the first nine months of this year, weathering the global downturn extremely well, the HSBC said in its latest Global Connections Report Vietnam.

The report, released on November 14, said the US was Vietnam’s largest trading partner last year. Since signing a bilateral trade agreement with the US in 2000 and joining the World Trade Organisation in 2007, Vietnam has become the second largest supplier of clothing and footwear to the US behind China.

By 2013, the World Bank expects mobile phones and related accessories will overtake garments as Vietnam ’s largest source of export revenue, it added.

According to HSBC, Vietnam’s exports are expected to grow at a pace in excess of 10 percent out to 2030. By 2020, China will overtake the US as Vietnam’s largest export partner but the US, Japan and the Republic of Korea will remain key sources of demand for Vietnam.

Plans to expand the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement to zero tariffs on all goods by 2015 will be an additional factor supporting Vietnam ’s trade with other economies in the region over the medium term.

HSBC also reported that the Vietnamese traders are moving away from relying on their banks for trade finance (32 percent) with 37 percent indicating they want to fund their own financial obligations. Foreign exchange concerns appear to have abated somewhat as 58 percent of traders say they either anticipate exchange rates to work in their favour or do not expect them to hinder growth.

With China, Southeast Asia and the rest of Asia as their top three trading partners and each growing their share in Vietnam, intra-regional trade continues to be the core of the country’s importers and exporters.-VNA