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Garment firms must expand to African markets - Experts
Aug '11
African markets are a lucrative destination for global garment and textile businesses, and the Vietnamese firms should not miss on the opportunity and must expand their export markets, experts have said.

According to them, the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), world's oldest customs union which has Lesotho, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland as its members, has the maximum growth potential in the African region.

Of the five SACU members, South Africa is the country with largest demand for garments, and it spent around US$ 2.7 billion for importing textile and garment items during last year. Over half of these goods worth around US$ 1.47 billion were shipped in from China, while the rest were imported from India, Pakistan, Mauritius and Germany.

In spite of Vietnam being one of the biggest exporter of textile and garment items across the globe, its exports to African nations is quite insignificant. It exported textiles and garments worth only US$ 22.73 million to South Africa during last year.

Experts believe that the Vietnamese textile and garment firms hold a comparative advantage in terms of wages to labour, productivity and skills, and hence have the potential to expand their exports to African nations.

They say since SACU nations as well as Vietnam are members of World Trade Organization (WTO), trade can easily be carried out between them in accordance with the market demand.

Although the African continent houses great demand for various kinds of products, in order to trade successfully in those markets it would be essential for the Vietnamese firms to grasp their traditions, culture and modes of payment, experts say.

They recommend the Vietnamese companies to devise an export market diversification policy to reduce their dependence on the present markets.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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