Vietnam - Country Commercial Guide

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-09-15


In 2020, Vietnam was the seventh largest market for U.S. agricultural exports, at USD 3.4 billion.  U.S. agricultural exports to Vietnam increased by 40 percent in value in the last five years.  Vietnam is a growing market for consumer-oriented products, reaching USD 13.1 billion in 2020.  Although U.S. consumer-oriented products exports to Vietnam in 2020 dropped by 11 percent versus 2019 to USD 928 million, the U.S. market share stayed unchanged at 7 percent.  In 2020, Vietnam was the 14th largest market for U.S. consumer-oriented products.

Vietnam’s top ten imported consumer-oriented products in 2020 included fresh fruit, tree nuts, fresh vegetables, dairy products, soup and other food preparations, poultry, beef and beef products, processed vegetables, non-alcoholic beverages, pork, and spices (Trade Data Monitor).

Vietnam’s total retail revenue in 2020 was USD 172 billion, increasing by 6.8 percent over 2019, with food and beverage retail sales accounting for approximately 30 percent of total retail sales (Vietnam’s General Statistical Office).  Vietnam’s growing middle class, economic development, and increased awareness of food safety are key propellers in increasing market demand in the retail sector.

Although COVID-19 has severely hit Vietnam’s key industries including tourism, aviation, food service, and traditional and modern retail, it also resulted in the growth of the country’s e-commerce sector.  Vietnam’s e-commerce revenue in 2020 was USD 11.8 billion, up 18 percent over 2019 (Ministry of Industry and Trade-Vietnam E-Commerce and Digital Economy Agency), 70 percent of the country’s population currently use the internet (Statista).

U.S. exporters of consumer-oriented agricultural products are encouraged to review the USDA 2020 Exporter Guide VM2020-0125 which serves as a practical guide for U.S. exporters wishing to initiate or increase exports of their products to Vietnam. 

It can be a challenge for any food exporter to fully understand the complex environment caused by overlapping and frequently changing food standards and food safety regulations in Vietnam.  U.S. exporters, especially those new to the Vietnamese market, are also advised to refer the following reports to have an overview of Food Standards and Regulations, as well as required certificates:  

  • The 2020 FAIRS (Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards) Country Report VM2020-0129 provides an overview on the food laws and regulations currently in force in Vietnam. 
  • The 2020 FAIRS (Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards) Export Certificate Report VM2020-0130 provides an overview of the health and quarantine certificates needed for exporting food and agricultural products to Vietnam. 

On February 2, 2018, the Government of Vietnam published Decree 15/2018 which renews the implementation of a number of articles of the 2010 Food Safety Law and makes fundamental changes to registration and inspection for both domestic and imported food and the assignment of food safety management among the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development (MARD), and the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT).  This Decree completely replaces Decree 38/2012 regulating the implementation of a number of articles of Vietnam’s Food Safety Law.  For more information on Decree 15, please consult the USDA GAIN report VM8016.

U.S. exporters will be able to follow these developments, as well as find other recent GAIN reports pertaining to their respective interests by navigating the GAIN website.

Additionally, new-to-market U.S. exporters are advised to look into export requirements for Vietnam updated by USDA agencies, including the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).