Vietnam’s textile and garment industry is optimistic about earning $60 billion from exports by 2025, thanks to free trade agreements (FTAs) and a focus on environment-friendly manufacturing, The sector earned $36 billion in exports last year, up 16 per cent year-on-year, making the country one of the world’s three biggest exporters of textiles and apparel.
According to Vu Duc Giang, chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS), the association this year has set an export target of $40 billion, up 11 per cent year on year.
Speaking at the 2019 Global Textile and Apparel Supply Chain Conference held recently in Ho Chi Minh City, Giang said the industry is expected to enjoy a trade surplus of $20 billion and employ 2.85 million workers.
Many enterprises have already received orders for the first six months of 2019 and even for the entire year, Vietnamese media reports quoted Giang as saying.
The industry is also expecting more orders to shift from China to Vietnam due to the ongoing US-China trade war.
Vietnam is signatory to 16 FTAs. Ten out of 12 signed agreements have been enforced, including the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement, the ASEAN-China FTA and the ASEAN-Korea FTA, while the two remaining, the CPTPP and the ASEAN-Hong Kong FTA, have not yet come into force.
The FTAs that Vietnam has signed all have environmental barriers with higher green standards, which require enterprises to improve not only product quality but also production processes.
If enterprises fail to do this, they will face a risk of having orders stopped or rejected, especially orders from major international garment brands.
VITAS set up an environment committee three years ago and has participated in an action programme for the Green the Textile and Apparel Industry group.
In addition, last year VITAS and the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature launched a project on green textile industry. The project aims to encourage players in the domestic textile sector to promote better river basin governance, water quality improvement and sustainable energy use.