HCM CITY — Garment companies seeking to boost exports to the choosy EU market need to keep a close eye on consumer tastes and comply with ethical and environmental norms, a conference heard in HCM City on Thursday.
|A worker of Son Nam Textile JSC in Hoa Xa Industrial Zone, Nam Dinh Province, operates yarn producing machines. Garment and textile firms who wish to promote exports to the EU need to follow market taste and manufacturing norms. — VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam
Alice Baey, home purchasing director of giant French retailer Casino France and director of Casino Global Sourcing Group and Textile, said Vietnamese garment and textile products were very good but not good enough to achieve a long-term presence in the French or European markets.
They should think of long-term development plans, be more active and creative, and focus on new designs, improving technology, and training and keep an eye on changing customer needs, she said.
European consumer behaviour had undergone big change recently, with many people acquiring increasing sensibility for ethical and environmental-friendly products.
The economic meltdown had caused many to tighten their purse strings and reducing buying of luxury products, she said.
"They are concerned about the prices of products but still ask for high quality."
Guillaume Crouzet, general manager of the French Chamber of Commerce in Viet Nam, said to increase exports, local producers must make relentless efforts to improve quality and consistency.
He highlighted the need for garment companies to comply with ethical and social norms, saying EU importers were particular concerned about it.
Jo Bueters, non-food strategic and technical advisor for the Casino Group, said since raw materials were a key issue for Viet Nam's textile industry, the country should take measures to resolve the problem, thus controlling raw material sources and prices.
She also urged Vietnamese companies to become more "visible" by participating in professional and international exhibitions.
Knowledge of export market regulations, improving packaging and design, and the ability to communicate well in English were among the main requirements for local firms, she said.
The country's garment and textile exports last year were worth more than US$15.6 billion, a year-on-year increase of 38 per cent.
Exports to the EU have risen sharply in recent years but remained low compared with the potential.
Vu Kim Hanh, president of the High-Quality Vietnamese Product Business Association, advised local companies to co-operate with foreign retail groups like Big C to sell their products through their supermarket chains in foreign countries.
Last year, Big C exported three products – textile, food, and groceries – worth $21 million from Viet Nam to nine countries.
The conference, titled " How to expand exports of textile to French and European markets" and organised by the Business Studies and Assistance Center, the High-Quality Vietnamese Product Business Association, and Casino-owned Big C supermarket, attracted executives from more than 50 domestic garment and textile companies. — VNS