Textiles sector strengthens in Vietnam

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Vietnam textile factoryGarment and textiles could become Vietnam’s top export items this year if the sector manages to maintain the 19 per cent growth rate attained during the first three months of the current year, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has forecast.According to a Viet Nam News report, Vietnam Textile and Garment Association deputy chairperson, Dang Phuong Dung, said there are good prospects for the revival of the Vietnamese apparel and textile industry, which posted an export turnover of $4.2 billion during the first quarter of 2013.Noting that the sector’s exports have continued posting positive results even after the first quarter, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Garment Group, Le Tien Troung forecast that exports would hit historic highs during April 2013.However, he added that spiraling cost of inputs like petrol prices and electricity charges may compel textile producers to enhance their productivity and also pay better remuneration to the workers.

He further said that while increasing number of overseas firms are eyeing to tap the Vietnamese market, Vietnamese apparel enterprises also need to focus on the $90-million strong domestic market.

Is Vietnam different?

In the wake of the garment factory building collapse in Bangladesh end-April which left more than 400 workers dead, experts say that Vietnam’s industry is different as it shows it is possible to have “extremely strong” labour laws, fair wages and reasonable safety standards, experts say.

“It is not a race to the bottom here,” Tara Rangarajan, programme manager of the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Better Work project in Vietnam, said.

“Sweatshops such as in Bangladesh are part of a short term, immediate payback low-cost strategy. Vietnam, though, wants to be competitive in the long term on something besides just cheap labour, so it is trying to enforce and improve its laws,” she added.

While labour costs are three times higher in Vietnam than in Bangladesh, international fashion chains are attracted to Vietnam “if they have reputations they are trying to maintain”, she said.

In Cambodia, where the garment industry developed in the 1990s, avoiding the ‘sweatshop’ label was a conscious strategy, with the country embracing an ILO Better Factories programme.

However, many labourers are still discontent about working conditions, especially the payment. Several thousands of garment workers marched in the capital Phnom Penh on Labour Day, demanding better pay and working conditions.

While the government recently has set a new monthly minimum wage of  $75 for textile workers in Cambodia, they said it is still too low to meet the rising cost of living, arguing the minimum wage should rise to $ 150 per month.

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Vietnam textile factoryGarment and textiles could become Vietnam’s top export items this year if the sector manages to maintain the 19 per cent growth rate attained during the first three months of the current year, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has forecast.According to a Viet Nam News report, Vietnam Textile and Garment Association deputy chairperson, Dang Phuong Dung, said there are good prospects for the revival of the Vietnamese apparel and textile industry, which posted an export turnover of $4.2 billion during the first quarter of 2013.Noting that the sector’s exports have continued posting positive results even after the first quarter, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Garment Group, Le Tien Troung forecast that exports would hit historic highs during April 2013.However, he added that spiraling cost of inputs like petrol prices and electricity charges may compel textile producers to enhance their productivity and also pay better remuneration to the workers.

He further said that while increasing number of overseas firms are eyeing to tap the Vietnamese market, Vietnamese apparel enterprises also need to focus on the $90-million strong domestic market.

Is Vietnam different?

In the wake of the garment factory building collapse in Bangladesh end-April which left more than 400 workers dead, experts say that Vietnam’s industry is different as it shows it is possible to have “extremely strong” labour laws, fair wages and reasonable safety standards, experts say.

“It is not a race to the bottom here,” Tara Rangarajan, programme manager of the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Better Work project in Vietnam, said.

“Sweatshops such as in Bangladesh are part of a short term, immediate payback low-cost strategy. Vietnam, though, wants to be competitive in the long term on something besides just cheap labour, so it is trying to enforce and improve its laws,” she added.

While labour costs are three times higher in Vietnam than in Bangladesh, international fashion chains are attracted to Vietnam “if they have reputations they are trying to maintain”, she said.

In Cambodia, where the garment industry developed in the 1990s, avoiding the ‘sweatshop’ label was a conscious strategy, with the country embracing an ILO Better Factories programme.

However, many labourers are still discontent about working conditions, especially the payment. Several thousands of garment workers marched in the capital Phnom Penh on Labour Day, demanding better pay and working conditions.

While the government recently has set a new monthly minimum wage of  $75 for textile workers in Cambodia, they said it is still too low to meet the rising cost of living, arguing the minimum wage should rise to $ 150 per month.

 

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