Vietnam had a tumultuous 20th century, with political upheaval marking the majority of this period. By the end of the Vietnam war in 1975, most of the political and social upset had come to an end. It wasn't until 1986, however, that the communist government began to develop more open trade and economic policies, allowing the country to grow and flourish. By the year 2000, significant progress had been made and Vietnam became an emerging market for worldwide trade. In 2007, Vietnam joined the World Trade Organisation.

Vietnam's main trading partner is the United States. The United Kingdom, however, has actively worked to build trade relationships in the country, giving Vietnam the designation of a High Growth Market. Vietnam has a growing economy, even when other countries are struggling to maintain strong growth. Of the 89 million citizens, many Vietnamese are young people with a strong consumer focus. While income discrepancies are still an issue between urban and rural populations, the gap is closing. In addition, inflation has yet to be controlled, despite the tight controls of the communist government.

Since the 1986 move to a more free economic system, Vietnam's industries have grown significantly. This led to a high rate of foreign investment, including many businesses based in Britain. Today, Vietnam has strong technology sectors, as well agricultural industries, with a strong focus on rice, black pepper and cashews. The country also produces a large amount of fish and rubber products.

Vietnam publishes a fairly extensive list of import guidelines. The customs procedure will vary based upon how the shipment is moved and what the final destination and intention of the package is. Commercial goods are subject to different guidelines than personal items or gifts, for example.

No matter how the package is handled, however, some items cannot be moved through Vietnam. The list of prohibited items for importation to Vietnam includes:


  • batteries,

  • hazardous chemicals,

  • credit cards,

  • animal eggs,

  • Firecrackers

  • ice of all types,

  • playing cards,

  • poisons,

  • radioactive material,

  • soil,

  • stamps

  • and the drug Viagra.



Vietnam customs restrictions also does not allow for the importation of used consumer products and goods. Some vietnamese prohibitions deal with specific products that originate in one market.

Besides the prohibited items, Vietnam restricts many other categories of goods and products. Restrictions apply to shipments of


  • firearms,

  • perishable food,

  • live animals,

  • dead animals,

  • coins

  • and gambling products or devices.


If you are looking to send a parcel to Vietnam via an international courier then you should read this page from the Vietnam Customs authority.

Vietnam is steeped in specific traditions of social etiquette. Vietnamese citizens appreciate timeliness, so delays in delivery can negatively impact business relationships. It is, however, common for gifts to be given to both personal and business associates, so shipping an inexpensive gift is appropriate to build relationships. Finally, when shipping packages to Vietnam, keep in mind that the weather patterns are extreme. Southern Vietnam regularly experiences tropical conditions, while the northern part of the country is hot and rainy between May and September and warm and dry between October and March.

You must not send any item addressed to a country in which the item is unlawful or prohibited. When an item is restricted you must comply with the restriction. Prohibitions and restrictions vary from country to country, and can sometimes apply to items which you may think are ordinary.

The information above is provided in good faith, but Courierpoint is not responsible for it, and it should be viewed as a guide only. Specific restrictions and changes may be enforced at short notice, so for clarification please contact the destination country's trade and customs authorities as appropriate. Business customers are strongly recommended to do this.


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