In June alone, apparel exports topped $1.15 billion, a month-on-month increase of 11 per cent, deputy general director of the Vietnam National Garment and Textile Group (Vinatex) Le Tien Truong at a press conference in Hanoi.

These encouraging results came despite the fact that domestic garment enterprises had to cope with several challenges including rising electricity prices that resulted in increased production costs, high lending interest rates and fluctuations in the global price of cotton, he said, adding that the US, EU and Japan remained the largest importers of Vietnamese garments.

During the period, the apparel industry also witnessed an export surplus of $2.1 billion, making an effective contribution to the country's economic development, he said.

"At this rate, our target of exporting $13.2 billion worth of garments this year is well within our reach," he noted.

As part of a garment and textile development plan for the 2011-20 period, the industry will gain yearly growth of 12-14 per cent and export growth of 15 per cent.

The apparel industry is targeted to reach $18 billion in export value by 2015 and $25 billion by 2020, creating 2.75 million and 3 million jobs, respectively.

The plan also outlined a number of provinces with high potential for the establishment of garment production factories as well as for the launch of textile and garment industrial clusters.

They were Phu Tho,Tuyen Quang, Thai Nguyen in the northern-mountainous region; Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Quang Tri in the north-central region; Thua Thien Hue, Quang Nam, Phu Yen, Binh Dinh in the central-coastal region and Tien Giang, Dong Thap and Tay Ninh in the Mekong Delta and southern regions.Meanwhile, there are plans to produce raw materials in eight other provinces including the central highland provinces of Dak Lak, Dak Nong and central Ninh Thuan Province as well as the northern mountainous province of Son La.

Top priority would also be given to diversifying designs and improving quality, the plan noted.

"The garment industry is striving to evolve from contract manufacturers to original design manufacturers (ODM) which are contract manufacturers with product design capabilities to increase value," Truong said.

The country is now home to 3,710 enterprises operating in the garment and textile sector. However, the majority of them are located in Hanoi and HCM City.

Vinatex, the country's leading garment group, posted a six-month revenue of over 19.37 trillion dong ($941 million), a year-on-year increase of 33 per cent or equivalent to 55 per cent of its annual target.

During that period, it also exported about $1.23 billion worth of goods, surging 32 per cent over the same time of last year.

It aims to post a revenue of 17.5 trillion dong ($849.5 million) and an export value of $1.2 billion in the second half of this year.

Asia Pulse - June 30, 2011