Vietnam boosted its footwear exports to the US by 30 per cent in the first four months of 2005, the Viet Nam News Agency reported.

Gross exports during that period totalled $111.9 million, representing the largest turnover of all the country's main footwear markets.

According to Vietnam's Ministry of Trade, the figure will continue to grow over the next few months, affected by the US's restriction of Chinese shoes and Brazil's unfavourable currency environment.

Vietnam has also reported some long-awaited signs of turnaround in flagging exports to the Italian and Spanish markets, with earnings from exports to Italy rising 13 per cent to $36.51m and 19 per cent to $19.39m to Spain during the four-month period.

Shipments to Germany and France are faring less well, however, with exports to Germany dropping 27.65 per cent and leather exports to France falling 24.55 per cent.