ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Garment, textile industry hopeful about Pacific trade
Domestic garment and textile companies will have many opportunities to increase exports as well as dismantle current trade barriers when the country becomes a member of Trans-Pacific Strategic Partnership (TPP).
The assessment was voiced at a conference held yesterday in the southern province of Dong Nai by the province's People's Committee and the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vinatas).
It was reported that as of 2012, the industry has had 6,000 companies and 2.5 million workers in the industry.
Speaking at the conference, Nguyen Van Tuan, deputy general secretary of Vinatas, said the garment and textile sector's export turnover was the second-highest among all export products.
In 2001, the industry's export value stood at nearly US$2 billion. By 2012, however, it jumped to more than $17 billion, helping Viet Nam become the fifth largest garment and textile exporter in the world.
Despite such growth, the industry faces challenges including a raw material shortage, out-of-date technologies and strong dependence on outsourcing.
He added that 99 per cent of cotton and 50 per cent of raw materials such as fiber were imported. Moreover, 6 billion out of 6.8 billion metres of cloth came from other countries.
According to Vitas, Vietnamese textile exporters are also suffering high duties in their key overseas markets.
Regarding Vietnam's export textile and garment products, 50 per cent goes to the US market, 17 per cent to Europe, 12 per cent to Japan, 6 per cent to South Korea and 2 per cent to remaining markets.
Meanwhile, tariffs slapped on Vietnamese goods are 17.5 per cent in the US and 9.6 per cent in Europe.
Tuan said that after Vietnam signs the TPP agreement, tariffs on Vietnamese-made textile and garment exports would be cut to zero.
In addition, via the TPP agreement, Viet Nam would have an opportunity to negotiate with the US and other member countries to open markets for Vietnamese goods, which would increase the country's exports and reduce the trade deficit, Tuan said.
Viet Nam's participation in the TPP would also encourage investors from the US and member countries to invest in Viet Nam.
Economic experts said that the most important aspect of the TPP was its strong trade liberalisation on commodities since import duties would be wiped out almost immediately after the agreement comes into force.
Representatives of textile and garment companies also said that the TPP was necessary because the Vietnamese industry relied too much on imported raw materials.
Vitas said the domestic textile and garment industry was now conducting surveys on marketing, materials and accessories, labour, equipment, management skills and financial abilities of textile and garment companies.
The data will be used during the negotiations for the signing of the TPP, which is scheduled to take place in October in Bali, Indonesia.
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