Vietnam plans to diversify the sources of materials needed to supply the country’s manufacturing sector due to tighter Covid-19 curbs in China, Industry and Trade minister Nguyen Hong Dien said during a parliamentary meeting on Wednesday.
The Southeast Asian country’s industrial production is heavily reliant on Chinese materials and equipment and its giant neighbour is Vietnam’s largest trading partner.
Multiple Chinese provinces and cities have tightened restrictions in line with Beijing’s zero-tolerance goal of suppressing Covid-19 as quickly as possible, including the southern Chinese tech hub of Shenzhen.
“This is a challenge for the global economy, not only for Vietnam,” Dien said.
The ministry will also work with Chinese authorities on possible measures to maintain a “green lane” for goods to move between the two countries, Dien said, adding that local firms would be encouraged to boost their production of materials.
“Chinese materials and equipment are important for Vietnam’s manufacturing sector, especially for garment and footwear production,” Dien said.
Vietnam, with a population of 98 million, has over the last decade become a key production hub for a number of global giants such as Samsung Electronics, Nike and Intel.
Vietnam’s imports from China rose 30% last year to $110 billion, with the main imports including machinery, electronics, fabrics, steel and plastics.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell