Vietnamese leather manufacturers are experiencing a shortage of leather, according to the Vietnamese News Agency. Demand for leather at footwear factories has almost doubled in the past seven years, from 14.8 million sq m in 1998 to 27.8 million sq m in 2005. Figures from the Trade Ministry indicate that demand will rise to 46.4 million sq m a year by 2010.

Vietnamese tanneries have the capacity to meet only 20% of the demand, which results in a continuing dependence on imported leather. Vietnamese tanneries reportedly have a combined production target of just 7.4 million sq m a year by 2010.

Vietnamese leather imports in 2005 totalled 22.3 million sq m. Figures for the first nine months reveal that 26% of imports came from Taiwan, followed by 13% from China, 12% from South Korea, 9% from Thailand and 8% from Hong Kong. Vietnamese leather footwear manufacturers expect to achieve a turnover of US$3.7 billion this year.