Vietnamese garment enterprises have opportunity to access US market

Tuesday, 2017-09-26 11:20:30
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Vietnam's garment exports are expected to reach US$30.5 billion in 2017. (Credit: NDO/An Binh)
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NDO – Vietnam's textile and garment export turnover to the US has grown sharply in recent years and Vietnam is using more raw cotton materials from this market, offering domestic enterprises a range of opportunities to access the US market.

Vu Duc Giang, Chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS), said that Vietnam's textile and garment export turnover, in 2017, is estimated at US$30.5 billion, of which the US market accounts for approximately 51% of total turnover.

In the first eight months of 2017, textiles and garments exports grew steadily, with export value increasing by 9.9%, over the same period last year, to US$19.8 billion. Currently, textile and garment exports to the US account for the largest share of the industry, making up around 51% of the export market share.

However, Vietnam is also importing cotton from the US for its spinning industry, accounting for up to 60% of its total demand. In recent years, the cotton cultivation areas in Vietnam have narrowed down to just 0.04% of the total demand. Meanwhile, American cotton is considered the best for Vietnamese spinning, due to it containing less impurities and being put through a tightly controlled production process.

In order to create favourable conditions for the Vietnamese textile and garment enterprises to approach the US cotton market, VITAS and the US Cotton Council International (CCI) recently held Cotton Day in Ho Chi Minh City, in mid-September. According to Giang, this event created an opportunity for US firms to evaluate the potential and importance of the spinning and textile industry in Vietnam, before making proposals to the US Government for policies to support the spinning, textile and garment industry in the Southeast Asian country.

Among them, the most important is the recommendation on the establishment of cotton bonded warehouses in Ho Chi Minh City and Hai Phong that would help to create better opportunities for Vietnamese spinners to access US cotton products, while shortening buying times and reducing financial pressure.

Giang said that Cotton Day 2017 acted as a bridge between the Vietnamese textile industry and the US cotton industry for the benefit of both parties, presenting an opportunity for Vietnamese fashion brands and Vietnamese businesses, who have not yet exported to the US, to seek opportunities for cooperation with US enterprises and buyers.

According to VITAS, Vietnam’s cotton imports surged over the past ten years from 150,000 tonnes in 2005 to approximately 1.2 million tonnes in 2016, with US cotton making up a large proportion.

In the first seven months of 2017, Vietnam imported 808,000 tonnes of cotton, worth US$1.47 billion, annual rises of 32.6% and 58%, respectively. The US accounted for 60% of the market share, marking a milestone in the development of US cotton in Vietnam.

To pave the way for Vietnamese apparel exports to the US and to help customers recognise high-quality products, the CCI granted licences to 12 Vietnamese businesses using the COTTON USA™ label, including Hoa Tho Textile, Dong Xuan Knitting, Phu Cuong Spinning, Phu Gia Spinning, Viet Hong Dyeing, Sunrise Spring Vietnam, Thanh Cong Textile and Vi Son Textile.

The use of COTTON USA ™ labels will help consumers to recognise quality products, as well as helping exporters enjoy more favourable conditions when exporting textiles to the United States.

Nguyen Ngoc Binh, Deputy General Director of Hoa Tho Textile, said that his company currently has three fiber factories in Da Nang and Quang Nam, with an annual capacity of around 1,600 tonnes of yarns. Raw materials used in the plants are cotton and man-made fibers, of which cotton imports from the US account for more than 60%.

Binh added that, compared with cotton imported from West Africa or India, cotton from the US contains less impurities, so the finished product quality is higher. Recently, US cotton has had a more competitive price, making it a good choice for manufacturers in meeting the high requirements of high quality orders.

CCI Director William Bettendorf said that in recent years, the Vietnam textile and garment industry has made breakthrough growth, becoming a bright spot in the textile industry around the world. Currently, Vietnam is the largest customer of the American cotton industry.

This year is also the first year that CCI has supported Vietnam’s fashion brands using the COTTON USA ™ label to create more favourable conditions for Vietnamese exports and better transparency for consumers concerning the origin of materials.