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According to Seymour Hersh, the fall of Saigon was irrelevant (wrt. to containing China etc.) because

We're the largest trading partner of Vietnam now.

By "we" he surely means the USA. Is this true, is the USA the largest trading partner of Vietnam?

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  • 1
    to summarise the answers: it depends on how you calculate it. If you look only at Vietnam's exports, the US are their largest trading partner, if you look at imports (as well) it's China.
    – jwenting
    Mar 10, 2023 at 7:58
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    Of course phrasing the same statement as "USA accounts for less than a quarter of total trade volume" doesn't quite have the same ring to it as the original statement. Mar 10, 2023 at 14:57
  • @Marianne013 Why? What does that have to do with the question?
    – JimmyJames
    Mar 10, 2023 at 22:13

2 Answers 2

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Vietnam exports more (by value) to United States than any other country. It imports more from China and several other countries than it does from the USA.

The WorldBank puts United States as the top market as a buyer from Vietnam, and fifth top market as a seller to Vietnam:

Vietnam top 5 Export and Import partners
Market Trade (US$ Mil) Partner share(%)
United States 77,072  27.38
China 48,880  17.37
Japan 19,269  6.85
Korea, Rep. 19,125  6.80
Hong Kong, China 10,436  3.71
Exporter Trade (US$ Mil) Partner share(%)
China 84,198  32.22
Korea, Rep. 46,862  17.93
Japan 20,277  7.76
Other Asia, nes 16,704  6.39
United States 13,764  5.27

The CIA Factbook puts the top export partners as:

United States 23%, China 14%, Japan 8%, South Korea 7% (2019)

However, it doesn't directly reference the source, so it is difficult to trust.


Reuters reported in 2021 that:

China is Vietnam's largest trading partner, on which the Southeast Asian country relies heavily for materials and equipment for its labour-intensive manufacturing. Imports from China rose 30% to $110 billion.

(Note this is based on imports into Vietnam)


The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) provides visuals with the USA as the biggest export market, and China the biggest import market:

  • Exports (2020)

enter image description here

  • Imports (2020)

enter image description here

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  • Comments about how to calculate "top" have been moved to chat; please do not continue that discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments.
    – Oddthinking
    Mar 13, 2023 at 2:34
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Assuming Vietnam+ reflects the way official statistics are usually done over there, it says:

Data from the General Department of Customs shows in 2022, China is Vietnam's largest trading partner with a total two-way trade turnover of 175.57 billion USD, followed by the US (123.86 billion USD), the Republic of Korea (86.38 billion USD) and Japan (47.61 billion USD).

GDCV is the official agency of Vietnam, but finding that data on their site can be a bit of a challenge.

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