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Japanese apparel makers eye Thailand as supply base
Dec '11
Japanese apparel producers are more keenly considering Thailand to serve as a supply base for their ASEAN operations, Kazuo Niijima, Senior Division Manager for the Japan Apparel Fashion Industry Council, said during his visit to Bangkok.

Owing to high competency for hi-tech production techniques and value-added creativity, Thailand is now developing into a raw material and designing hub from just being a production hub for Japanese apparel firms earlier.

Mr. Niijima highlighted that increasing number of Japanese apparel producers are considering setting up their factories in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, due to low cost of labour there.

After serving the domestic apparel producing industry for long, Thailand has now established itself as a key supplier, supporting manufacturing operations of Japanese apparel firms in neighbouring Asean countries, he said.

He further stated that with great competency to cater to the middle and upper segment market, Thailand has now also developed into a hub for design and technology transfer from Japan.

Mr. Niijima said, Japan is trying to reduce dependence on other countries, particularly China for apparel imports, and hence Asean nations like Thailand would slowly occupy a position of strength, with reduction in imports from China.

Japan each year ships in apparels worth US$ 27 billion, 90 percent of which was contributed by China till recently, while Thailand contributed a meagre one or two percent.

Six well-known Japanese apparel firms – Sanei Production Network, Renown Incorporated, Onward Kashiyama, Japan Scope, World Production Partners and Decente – are visiting Thailand to attend the third Thailand-Japan Textile and Apparel Business Matching organized by the Export Promotion Department of the Commerce Ministry.

President of Thai Garment Manufacturers Association, Mr. Sukij Kongpiyacharn, said he foresees Thai apparel exports to Japan rising gradually.

Japanese market already serves as the third biggest apparel export destination for Thai garment producers, contributing around 10 percent of the overall value of Thai apparel exports.

The US and the EU are the two leading importers of apparels from Thailand, each respectively contributing around 40 and 30 percent of the Thai garment export value.

Mr. Sukij said Thailand's apparel export growth for the current year is likely to remain stable at US$ 3.2 billion.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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