Vietnamese Leather And Footwear Industry Aims to Optimize UKVFTA Benefits

The United Kingdom continues to be a primary export market for the footwear industry. As such, maximizing the benefits of the Vietnam-UK Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) currently in place is crucial.

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Vietnamese Leather And Footwear Industry Seeks to Better Utilize UKVFTA Opportunities
The export of leather and shoes to the UK market still has a lot of potential. Photo: VNA

Stable exports to the UK

Phan Thi Thanh Xuan, general secretary of the Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association (Lefaso) said that currently, the UK market is still the main market of the Vietnamese leather and footwear industry.

Even when the UK was still in the EU, the proportion of the UK market was 25-30%.

“Fortunately, when the UK left the EU, the Vietnamese Government promptly signed a direct agreement with the UK market. That’s why the footwear industry’s exports to the UK market are not interrupted,” Xuan said.

According to the Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association, in 2023 the leather and footware situation faced difficulties when almost all markets have a decline in exports.

There are markets down up to 30% and markets down up to 20%. However, the UK market alone grew by 11%. Impressive growth helped the leather and footwear industry not decline too deeply in 2023.

Regarding cooperation in footwear import and export activities between the UK and Vietnam markets, according to Phan Thi Thanh Xuan, currently, we still export to the UK market because this is the main import market for footwear.

As for meeting standards and regulations, the footwear industry also cooperated with SATRA-a leading British and world standards organization to evaluate product quality.

“Through this cooperation activity, we supported small and medium-sized enterprises to improve product quality, especially being able to export products to the European market that require certifications,” said Phan Thi Thanh Xuan.

The UKVFTA is in the process of being implemented with many commitments on preferential tariffs for exported goods, including leather and footwear.

Therefore, in the coming time, the leather and footwear industry needs to seize the opportunity to develop the market thanks to the UKVFTA, as well as solve the problem of origin compared to high standards and requirements of the market.

Meeting market criteria

According to the representative of the Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association (Lefaso), small and medium-sized enterprises need to take a better step to approach this market.

Specifically, it is necessary to promote cooperation with British partners in design training and product marketing because this is the UK’s strength.

Photo: thoibaotaichinhvietnam
Photo: thoibaotaichinhvietnam

Enterprises in the leather and footwear industry need to utilize those advantages to enhance and upgrade the value chain.

Businesses also need to focus on finding sources of raw materials and accessories that meet market standards.

Lefaso also proposed that the Ministry of Industry and Trade increase support for businesses in the leather and footwear industry in taking advantage of the UKVFTA and developing in the British market.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade should provide information as well as solutions for this industry to build and develop raw material sources, and connect trade activities so that footwear businesses can have a sustainable supply for production and export to the UK market shortly.

Rosie Nguyen