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Thai garment makers pitch for new R&D centre
Dec '11
Garment producers in Thailand have suggested establishment of a new research and development centre in view of dwindling investments into the sector.

The Thai Garment Manufacturers Association (TGMA) has suggested that the Government should establish a Fashion Product Development Centre to intensify research and development activities and organize workshops for imparting training in sewing, patterns and fitting technologies and to serve as an experimental laboratory for business operators.

TGMA said establishing such a centre is necessary as no new investments are likely to flow into the Thai garment industry over the next three to five years, and investors are moving to other ASEAN nations.

TGMA estimates that the country's exports are likely to remain stable at US$ 3.2 billion levels during 2012 owing to factors like global economic slump and rising costs of production, considering the rise of minimum wage to 300 baht per day.

The need for setting up such a centre mainly arises due to lack of new investments flowing into the country's garment industry, TGMA stated and recommended that the centre should be administered by the private sector or private operators as an independent organization.

The Association estimates that the centre would require a funding of 182 million baht during the first five years of its operations.

The centre could help the firms in the industry to enhance their competitiveness, while supporting the country's goal of developing into a fashion hub of ASEAN, TGMA said.

Exporters who utilise the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) system can take help of the centre to produce their own innovative products. Besides, the centre could even help Thai companies with upgradation of their brands and products, to better cater to the customers.

Countries like South Korea, Japan, China and Hong Kong have adopted such a pattern of industry development.

As forecasted by the Association, the top 10 garment exporters from Thailand are likely to diversify to foreign markets, particularly to Indonesia and Vietnam, where there is availability of cheap labour compared to Thailand.

Six of these 10 firms, employ around 15,000 to 20,000 workers and have invested around US$ 8-10 million per factory space of 10,000 square metres. However, these firms are likely to scale down their operations in Thailand, due to labour crisis and rising costs of production.

Moreover, the garment industry may even look forward to swiftly shift their machinery to other countries to avert any damage from future floods, TGMA said.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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