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Li & Fung Says Vietnam Factory Protests to Cause Week-Long Production Delay

Global sourcing firm Li & Fung said Thursday that production at most of its suppliers’ factories in Vietnam could be delayed for one week because of this week’s anti-China protests.

According to Bloomberg, Vietnam accounts for about 7 percent of Li & Fung’s supplier base, and those factories have been forced to close due to the demonstrations that left the country’s Binh Duong province ravaged. Protests in the province’s industrial parks came as a response to China’s placement an oil rig in disputed waters off of Vietnam’s coast.

William Fung, Li & Fung chairman, said speaking after a shareholder meeting in Hong Kong, “We understand that the violence is quite random,” Bloomberg reported. “The government is now going about, hopefully, restoring law and order. Most of our suppliers closed their plants yesterday and the day before, just to make sure none of their workers are hurt,” he added.

Li & Fung CEO Bruce Rocowitz said it is too early to start thinking about contingency plans.

“We are expecting a week-long type of delay, not months,” Rockowitz said. If the delays do extend beyond that into the end of June or July, deliveries will be critically affected, he said. Li & Fung’s customers include Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, Marks and Spencer, and shoemaker Yue Yuen, but Rocowitz said most of the clients affected by the protests were American.