Over 50 per cent of leather and footwear businesses in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City have no existing orders, with some being forced to halt production, Asia Pulse reported an official from the Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso) as saying.

The official said that a large number of the EU's footwear orders below the wholesale price of US$1.5 per pair are now headed for Chinese manufacturers.

Vietnam's footwear exports to the EU market fell 7.5 per cent in the first four months after global trade quotas ended, Lefaso reported.

Exports to the US in the same period rose 43 per cent to $153 million compared to last year. Most of those orders, however, were places with companies with overseas backing.

Total export turnover rose 3.5 per cent $882m compared with the first four months of 2004.