For many years, handicrafts have always been among Vietnam’s 10 largest exports with diversified products and high added value. This is also an industry with a relatively high-profit margin compared to other economic sectors.

Up to now, Vietnam’s handicrafts products have been available in 163 countries and territories, accounting for nearly 10% of the global market demand. The export turnover of Vietnamese handicrafts between 2015 and 2019 increased by an average of 9.5% per year, from 1.62 billion USD (2015) to 2.23 billion USD (2019). The figure is likely to reach nearly 04 billion USD by 2025.

Exported handicrafts mainly include five groups: handbags, purses, suitcases, hats, umbrellas; toys, sports tools; ceramics; rattan, bamboo, reed products, carpets, and handicraft wood. Besides, many fashion items and gifts have been exported on the spot by serving the shopping needs of foreign visitors to Vietnam – currently accounting for about 15% of the total spending (about 15 USD/person). However, the export market in place in the past time has not been focused strategically.

According to Vietnam Handicraft Exporters Association (VIETCRAFT), every million USD of exports of handicrafts are 5-10 times more profitable than the mining industry. Handicraft production in Vietnam is mainly based on a system of 2,556 villages nationwide. The handicraft villages have created jobs for about 5.2 million rural workers. Although the export turnover is not high compared to many other commodities, handicrafts bring foreign currency sources with a high proportion of export turnover.

The handicraft villages have created jobs for about 5.2 million rural workers. (Source: Internet)

To sustainably develop the handicraft industry in the period of international integration, we need many groups of solutions in socio-economic, environmental, and institution. In terms of economics, it is necessary to improve the overall planning of industry development, promote the application of scientific and technological advances in design and production, enhance trade promotion, build consumption and export networks, and improve the role and performance of associations.

In the social aspect, the sustainable development of handicrafts contributes to creating jobs, developing human resources, improving farmers’ lives, building new rural areas, and building connections to improve the product value chain.

Regarding the environment, we need to improve the legal system for environmental protection, build a national system of standards to meet international standards, propagate and educate, combine inspection, supervision, and international cooperation on ecological environmental protection.

Finally, in terms of institutions, it is necessary to improve the legal basis, and development policies and support the sustainable development of the sector.

2022 is an important year for the 5-year plan 2020-2025, continuing to implement the 10-year socio-economic strategy 2021-2030, the vision to 2045 that the 18th National Party Congress has set. The important task for the handicraft industry is to develop sustainably in all four fields: economy, society, environment, and policy institutions contributing to the prosperity aspirations of the economy.

Speaking at the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) held in November 2021 in the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh officially announced Vietnam’s commitment to reach zero net emissions by 2050. It has shown the role of sustainable development in the handicraft industry.