Vietnam’s textile and garment exports hit US$2.6 bln in January

Vietnam earned US$2.6 billion from exports of textiles and garments in January 2021, representing a 3.3% year-on-year increase, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
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The ministry said in January 2021, the textile production index and the apparel production index increased by 16.6% and 9.9%, respectively, over the same period in 2020. The production of fabrics was estimated at 92.4 million sq.m, up 20.4%.

According to Vu Duc Giang, Chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS), the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to affect the sector until 2022.

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A woman makes masks at a factory in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyet Nhi.

If COVID-19 vaccines are available in the first and second quarter of 2021, the pandemic is expected to be controlled by the end of 2023. Then, the textile and garment market could see recovery, Giang said.

He said textile and garment businesses must change production and business models as the pandemic has made global purchasing power for apparel products, including many traditional export garment products of Vietnam, fall by 70-80%.

This is a big challenge for the Vietnamese textile and garment industry. Businesses need to learn about changes in domestic and global markets to find solutions in production and business this year, according to Giang.

He said the domestic textile and garment industry needs to build production chains, especially with countries in blocs that have signed trade agreements with Vietnam and ASEAN.

The textile and garment industry also needs to have a sustainable development strategy, including changes in production and business models according to the needs of brands and global consumers. They should pay attention to standards, certificates of origin, and certification of environmental assurance, energy saving, renewable energy, and product safety.

To implement a sustainable development plan for the textile and garment industry, VITAS proposes the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Government to issue the textile and garment development strategy in the 2030-2040 period. That would create favorable conditions to call investment to industrial zones to produce material that faces a supply shortage.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade said that the textile and garment industry has great development opportunities from the recently signed free trade agreements, especially the potential of increasing exports to major markets.

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Illustrative photo: Vietnamplus

Of which, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) signed in November 2020 is expected to create opportunities for Vietnam's textile and apparel products and also to replace some other export markets. Because the pandemic is not controlled and that has a great impact on the major export markets of Vietnamese textile and garment products such as Europe.

RCEP is a positive factor for the production and business activities of Vietnam's textile and garment industry in 2021 and beyond, said Vietnam News Agency.

Le Tien Truong, Chairman of the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex), said in addition to the efforts of garment makers, the government should consider lowering borrowing costs so that they can meet new requirements as well as invest in producing materials to meet rules of origin contained in new free trade agreements.

He also suggested the government introduce specific policies to support the garment sector’s development and direct the relevant agencies to reduce logistics costs and other tax burdens.

At the same time, the Ministry of Industry and Trade should continue helping enterprises take full advantage of free trade agreements by issuing guidelines on rules of origin and opening a portal for enterprises to examine the benefits of such pacts.

Vietnam aims to export US$39 billion worth of garment products this year, according to the national textile and garment group Vinatex.

According to a report published late last year by McKinsey, the global fashion industry's profits endured a fall of 93%, with more than 10 major fashion brands going bankrupt and roughly 200,000 workers in the fashion supply chains in the US losing their jobs, VOV reported.

Furthermore, the Vietnamese market share of garments and textiles enjoyed growth last year due to uninterrupted production activities, achieving 20% in the US market for the first time and taking the lead in terms of market share for several months.

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