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Trade war may benefit Vietnam

The US-China trade war of slapping tariffs on each other’s imports, on the surface, the disruption could be seen as a disaster for other countries in Asia. A blow to Chinese exports could ripple through the supply chains that stretch across the region, robbing other economies of growth opportunities and jobs.

At the same time, a US-China trade war will spill over into another ongoing economic battle -- the one between China and its low-wage competitors in global export markets. For many emerging economies, the long-term benefits might well outweigh the short-term damage.

China, the world’s largest exporter, has long been the destination of choice for US and European companies looking to outsource and offshore manufacturing, especially of labor-intensive consumer goods such as clothing, footwear and electronics. As factory wages in China have risen to the highest in emerging Asia, however, other developing countries with lower costs have begun to steal away investment and jobs, helping to promote industrialization and boost growth at home. Apparel and electronics manufacturers, for instance, have already started diversifying production to rivals such as Vietnam and India.

Vietnam has been enjoying an export boom, led by sectors traditionally dominated by China, including clothes and mobile phones.