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Textile & garment exports on a steady course
Sep '08
The textile industry in Malaysia was a cottage industry until recent times. Then Singapore implemented increases of over 200% in the minimum wage for textile workers over the course of 15 years, and companies began to relocate across to Malaysia.

The textile and apparel industry of Malaysia is ranked as the country's fourth largest export earner. The workforce of 150,000 employees ranks it as the second largest source of employment in the country.

The garment industry though is dependent more on contract manufacturing and has not been able to create brands of its own. But the industry even after the elimination of quotas in January 2005 has adjusted well to the changed dynamic environment and has been able to make rapid progress.

Exports from the Malaysian textile and garment industry as a whole grew by 5.4 percent in 2007 in reaching US $3.01 billion in comparison to $2.86 billion in 2006. Shipments from the textile industry rose from $1.50 billion to $1.55 billion to post a growth of 3.45 percent, while exports from the garment industry ascended from $1.36 billion to 1.46 billion to clock a growth of 7.44 percent.

The main textile products which significantly contributed to the growth were woven fabrics other than cotton which augmented from just $2.17 million to $8.19 million to generate a growth of a fantastic 276 percent in the period under review.

Exports of floor coverings like carpets and rugs also registered a considerable gain of 81.97 percent to increase from $21.78 million to $39.64 million and that of knitted/crocheted fabrics and made-up articles of textiles climbed by 32.83 and 31.98 percent respectively in the same period.

Likewise products of the garment industry too contributed to the growth story. Shipments of women's clothing (not knitted/crocheted) increased from $166.05 million to $193.01 million to garner a growth of 16.23 percent.

Similarly, garments from other textile apparels climbed from $427.53 million to $487.78 million to seize a growth of 14.09 percent. Women's clothing of knitted/crocheted also contributed by growing by 11.15 percent.

But here again as there were goods with a positive growth, there were products which too had a negative growth rate. Among the main goods which posted negative growth rates were articles of clothing accessories which dropped from $45.92 million to $29.58 million to post a de-growth of 35.58 percent.

In the same manner shipments of synthetic fibres fell from $78.69 million to $70.85 million to register a negative growth rate of 9.96 percent.

Overall it can be said that the Malaysian textile and garment industry is doing quite well for itself, but compared to its Asian neighbours like Vietnam and Bangladesh, there is still tremondous scope for increasing the growth rates and thereby taking the industry to the next level.

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Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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