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Garment sector focuses on labour & technology
May '11
Vietnam's textile and garment industry has grown into country's key economic industry, due to its sustainable growth and focus on continuous investment in labour as well as technology.

In spite of several difficulties that the global economy experienced during the last two years, textile and garment product exports from the country have maintained a sustained growth. Even when other countries in the world witnessed a fall in their textile and garment exports, the commodity exports from Vietnam grew.

Value-wise, the commodity exports in 2010 surpassed the set target of US$ 11.2 billion. However, in view of changes in the world economy, the industry has fixed a target of US$ 12.5-13 billion for 2011.

Local enterprises, in order to achieve this target, have raised their production and exports from the very beginning of the current year. The export value reached a new all-time high of US$ 1.5 billion in May this year, while the overall export turnover for the year is likely to touch an average of US$ 1 billion per month.

During the initial five months of the current year, Vietnam exported textile and garment items worth US$ 5.1 billion, registering a year-on-year rise of 36 percent.

The prices of cotton and polyester fabric have dropped in May, after reaching new heights during January-April 2011. This has subsequently led to a drop in clothing prices, based on which the apparel firms are eyeing an increasing number of import orders.

Even after being hit by the tsunami, the Japanese firms have persistently imported clothing from Vietnam, as they have been doing for the last two and half years. Rather, there has been a surge in their import of protection uniforms.

Fumio Koyama from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), in his meeting with Vietnamese textile and apparel companies in beginning of May, had said that the Japanese investors intend to shift around 30 percent of their textile and garment firms from China to elsewhere, over the next five years.

He added that Vietnam is a preferred location as shifting from China to Vietnam, would allow the Japanese firms to avail import duty exemption in accordance with the Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement.

According to Saigon 3 Garment Joint Stock Company's General Director, Pham Xuan Hong, Uniqlo – a Japanese fashion retail group which partners Saigon 3 since long – has urged them to steadily raise the volume of their sales to Uniqlo to double it by 2015. Presently, Saigon 3 exports around 50 percent of its total production to Japan.

The Vietnamese textile and garment goods exporters, while retaining their regular markets like EU, Japan and the US, are now even exploring new markets like Russia. However, labour remains the main issue facing these factories.

In the opinion of General Director of Gia Dinh Textile and Garment Corporation, Le Dong Trieu, “Earlier the businesses merely concentrated on growth of their businesses, but now they should be looking ahead to sustainable development. As such, they have decided to reduce their profit margins to pay better salaries and wages to their employees.”

Nowadays, the Vietnamese exporters are also investing in superior technology and management to boost labour productivity. Moreover, in order to maintain sustainable development in the industry, the businesses are now concentrating more on well-being of workers by ensuring them a steady income.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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