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Garments become nation's top export

Update: April, 04/2012 - 10:54


Workers at the Quang Tri-based Phong Phu Garment factory check products. Garments and textiles were the only export staples that earned more than $1 billion in March. — VNA/VNS Photo Ho Cau
HA NOI — Export value of garments and textiles reached US$1.15 billion in March, making them the country's largest export earners with $3.23 billion in total earnings during the first quarter, the General Statistics Office reported.

The figure represents a 15.4 per cent increase over last year's first quarter.

The office said that garments and textiles were the only export staples that earned the country more than $1 billion in March, adding that it was an impressive result in the context of a shrinking export market due to the global economic slowdown.

The Viet Nam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas) said the country's textile and garment exports to traditional markets such as the US and Japan in the first quarter maintained stable growth.

The US remained Viet Nam's largest importer of the products, accounting for nearly 52 per cent of the industry's total export earnings. Vitas expected that exports to the market in the next months would be optimistic as the unemployment rate in the US has been decreasing, a positive sign for economic recovery.

Exports to Japan also surged more than 30 per cent as domestic exporters have continued to benefit from the tax reduction policy that Viet Nam enjoys under the Viet Nam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement signed in 2009.

However, Vitas expressed concern about the export slowdown to the EU market due to the bloc's public debt crises. Despite rising by 3.5 per cent, export growth to the market was low when compared with a 33 per cent increase last year.

To offset the slowdown in the EU market, domestic exporters are now speeding up exports to other markets including South Korea, Russia, New Zealand, Chile and Brazil.

Exports to South Korea were impressive with a surge of 55 per cent thanks to the tax reduction advantages that domestic exporters enjoy under the ASEAN-South Korea Free Trade Agreement.

However, Vitas deputy chairman Pham Xuan Hong said that domestic textile and garment exporters were also facing fiercer competition from regional counterparts including India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia and Cambodia. Due to the globally decreasing consumption demand, the exporters were also offering competitive prices to attract customers, Hong said.

He said that the move of contracts in the sector from China to neighbouring countries, which had benefited Vietnamese exporters in recent years, was also decreasing as Chinese exporters currently had to accept small export contracts due to the economic difficulties. Meanwhile, Viet Nam doesn't enjoy a competitive advantage over China as the latter has access to local raw materials. — VNS

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