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Vietnam's COVID-battered supply chains on shaky road to recovery

Factories reopen but labor exodus and lockdown risks keep suppliers on edge

Garment factory workers return to the job after COVID-related restrictions were lifted in Vietnam on Oct. 1.   © Reuters

HO CHI MINH CITY/TAIPEI -- Vietnam's slow reopening this past week was bittersweet for Stanley Furniture, which had been in COVID lockdown along with thousands of other manufacturers, from Netflix supplier ASRock to shoe giant Pou Chen. On the one hand, Stanley employees were glad to go back to making desks and drawers. On the other, their goods are stuck in storage because global shipping costs skyrocketed.

That is just one of many risks hanging over the fragile supply chain even after Ho Chi Minh City and surrounding provinces on Friday lifted a bruising pandemic shutdown. Other risks include a labor shortage exceeding 100,000 workers, fresh lockdowns if coronavirus spreads, investors shifting to China and elsewhere, and the financial cost of COVID safeguards.

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