Vietnam strains to reap the rewards of the U.S.-China trade war

A worker makes Christmas cards in a factory in Hung Yen. Vietnam is now the eighth-biggest source of American imports, up from 12th place last year. (Nhac Nguyen /AFP/Getty Images)

latimes By DAVID PIERSON  JULY 12, 2019

The requests that textile factory manager Huynh Thi Ai Diem receives are almost always the same: A foreign company is desperately trying to relocate production from China to Vietnam. Tariffs imposed by the U.S. have eaten away their profit margin. Can she help?

Huynh would like nothing more but is swift to provide a reality check. She only has enough workers, raw materials and factory space to produce one-fifth the volume of bath towels and apparel churned out by her chief competitors in China. Her prices are competitive, she says, but contrary to popular belief, they aren’t cheaper than those of her Chinese rivals.

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