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Myanmar garment makers gearing up to boost output
Jan '12
Garment manufacturers in Myanmar are getting ready to increase their production following renewed hopes of easing sanctions by Western countries after the visit of the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the country last month.

The US market accounted for 50 percent of Myanmar's total garment exports from 2000 until 2003, when the US put sanctions, including the ban on goods made in Myanmar.

Hence, garment exports say, if the US eases sanctions, then US companies would quickly place orders for garments from Myanmar.

Since 2003, several garment factories in Myanmar have closed down and the garment industry has shifted its focus to the Asian market.

However, the garment manufacturers hope many of the now shut factories would restart if the US eases sanctions. It is because the factories that are operating at present would not be able to handle the flow of new orders that would come once the sanctions are lifted.

This would also lead to opening of new jobs and Myanmar could possibly increase the number of jobs in garment manufacturing ten-fold in a span of one year, as was done by Vietnam, according to experts.

Meanwhile, Japan and South Korea have been steadily increasing their orders for garments from Myanmar.

Labour charges in Myanmar are lower than China, but its garment industry faces competition from Bangladesh, which not only has availability of labour at low rates but also has concessional access to the EU market.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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