Japan’s Textile Exports to Vietnam Keep Growing Fast

According to a recent report released by the Textile Outlook International, Japan’s textile and apparel (T&A) exports increased by 9.6% to a five-year high in 2013 (¥763,307 million or $8,571 million USD), added by a sharp depreciation in the value of the yen (Note: Yen or “¥” is Japan’s currency) against US dollar. Specifically, Japan’s textile exports increased by 9.8%, from ¥729,761 million in 2012 to ¥801,450 million in 2013. Japan’s apparel exports rose by 3.7%, from ¥33,546 million in 2012 to ¥34,792 million in 2013. Textiles account for a lion’s share of Japan’s total T&A exports– 95.8% in 2013 and 95.6% in 2012 in terms of value.


Statistics also show that Vietnam not only is Japan’s second largest T&A export market, but also is one of the fastest growing export markets for Japan. In 2013, 9.1% of Japan’s T&A exports went to Vietnam (mostly were textiles), increased from 8.5% in 2012. In terms of absolute value, Japans’ T&A exports to Vietnam has also kept growing fast in recent years: 17.1% increase in 2013, 9.7% in 2012 and 27.3% in 2011, much higher than the growth rate of Japan’s overall T&A exports over the same period. Additionally, about 26% of Japan’s textile exports to Vietnam in 2013 were man-made fiber fabrics (SITC 653), followed by special yarns and fabrics (SITC 657) which accounted for 21% in terms of value. This product structure well matches with Japan’s overall textile exports to the world.

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On the other hand, Japans’ T&A exports to the US also grew by 8.1% in 2013, following a 3.2% rise in 2012. Fastest growing category of Japan’s T&A exports to the US in 2013 include blue denim fabric, non-textured filament yarn, wool knitted shirts and blouses and miscellaneous manufactured products made from man-made fibers.

However, the solid performance of Japan’s T&A exports in 2013 “failed to reinvigorate domestic production”. According to the report, Japan’s total T&A exports declined by 2.0% from 2012 to 2013, following a 2.3% fall a year earlier. However, production of miscellaneous textile products in Japan went up 0.6% in 2013.

Questions for discussion:

  • Will Japan further strengthen its ties with Vietnam in T&A production and trade because of TPP?
  • Should the US textile industry care about Japan in the TPP?

Welcome for any comments and suggestions.

Related reading
Lu, S. (2014). Does Japan’s accession to the Trans-Pacific Partnership an opportunity or a threat to the U.S. textile industry: A quantitative analysis. Journal of the Textile Institute. (ahead of print version) 

Author: Sheng Lu

Professor @ University of Delaware

2 thoughts on “Japan’s Textile Exports to Vietnam Keep Growing Fast”

  1. Currently, Vietnam is the second largest apparel exporter to the U.S. It is also Japan’s second largest T&A export market and their fastest growing export market. Based on this information, it seems that Japan would further strengthen its ties with Vietnam in T&A production and trade because of TPP. It is important for the U.S. to care about Japan in the TPP because it presents many possibilities for both countries. If the TPP is successful, it could rejuvenate the economic relationship between the U.S. and Japan. However, if the TPP is not successful, it could be a set back in the relationship and force both countries to re-evalutate if their involvement in the TPP is in the best interest of their domestic trade industry.

    1. It is good that you start thinking some bigger picture. Specifically for the US textile industry, I think they are worrying about where to export after the TPP. Demand from those traditional export markets such as Mexico and central America might decline, whereas the potential of Vietnam as a new export market is very uncertain. Although many us textile companies do not treat Japan very seriously, personally I think they should. Both Japan and Vietnam are Asian countries and they have tie with China as well. In terms of TPP as a whole, definitely has a profound geopolitical background. Recommended reading: http://www.ustr.gov/about-us/press-office/speeches/2014/September/Remarks-by-Ambassador-Froman-at-US-Chamber-CSIS-TPP-Event

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