Freight Forwarders believe import and export demand to and from Vietnam may be affected for an extended period after many of the country’s key industrial parks closed. A dispute with China over maritime rights escalated into violent anti-China protests earlier in May.
In southern Vietnam, some 300 Taiwanese and Chinese-invested companies in industrial parks across the provinces of Binh Duong and Dong Nai suspended operations.
Tensions between Vietnam and China have been rising since May 1, when a China state-owned oil exploration rig was placed in disputed waters near the Paracel Islands. But protests against China – Vietnam’s largest trading partner – only turned violent later. The riots at industrial parks in southern Vietnam resulted in the deaths of two Chinese workers. More than 100 were also injured and at least a dozen factories were razed in arson attacks by looters.
The riots are expected to take a heavy toll on Vietnam’s economic well-being. Some of the worst-affected industrial parks were in Binh Duong province, north of Ho Chi Minh City.
It has 13 industrial zones; in the first quarter of this year generated nearly US$3.2 billion in exports and US$2.7 billion in imports, according to the provincial Department of Industry and Trade. Yet with many of the province’s parks currently shut down, revenues will fall in the second quarter.