October 6, 2015.
Vietnam is expected to be the biggest beneficiary from the 12- nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which accounts for more than a quarter of global trade. According to the World Bank, Vietnam is the only member of TPP that is considered “lower middle income,” which will particularly benefit the Vietnamese manufacturing sector. China, Vietnam’s biggest manufacturing competitor, is not a member of the TPP deal. This is significant, because the tariffs that will be lifted through TPP on exports from Vietnam may make China a little nervous. In 2014, China was responsible for 34% of U.S. apparel imports and Vietnam came behind it with 11%. Also, according to Macquarie Research, China led with 66% of the U.S.’s footwear imports and Vietnam came in second with 14%. This leaves Nike, which produces 44% of its shoes in Vietnam, a lot of room for growth because Americans are such big consumers of shoes. In 2014, the U.S. imported 2.2 billion pairs of shoes, or an average of 7.3 pairs per capita.
Louie Nguyen, CFA is the CIO of San Diego-based Soledad Investment Management. Soledad invests qualified clients’ assets in markets around the world, including Vietnam.