Vietnam earned nearly 7.4 billion USD from exports to the EU in the first half of the year, a 49 percent increase over the same period last year, making up 17.5 percent of the country’s total export value.

According to the Industry and Trade Ministry, the EU had been a major market for many products of Vietnam, including rubber, handbags, coffee, seafood, garment and textiles and footwear.

Of these, footwear brought home 940 million USD from export to this market in the first five months of the year, a year-on-year increase of 16.6 percent, or 40 percent of the country’s total export turnover from this product category.

Vietnamese seafood also found a firm niche in the EU market, raking in 156 million USD in five months, a year-on-year increase of 21.7 percent.

With those optimistic signs, the country was expected to have an export value of 12.3 billion USD from the EU by the end of this year.

In 2010, EU was the second-largest market for Vietnam’s exports and the fifth for imports./.