Vietnam is outgrowing its growth plan.
The country on the precipice of perks that could come from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, if it’s ever signed, has surpassed its export goals and now the Vietnam Textile and Garment Association (VITAS) wants the government to work out a new plan.
Vietnam’s export value for textiles and apparel was targeted to hit $20 billion by 2020, but exports already surpassed $27 billion last year and are expected to reach $31 billion by the end of 2016. Between 2010 and 2015, growth in the garment sector has been up 15 percent per year.
“There is a big gap between what we achieved and what we planned,” VITAS chairman Vu Duc Giang told the Vietnam News.
The country’s demographics have played a role in that growth as the number of working age people outnumbers dependents by more than double.
Now, to continue capitalizing on that growth, VITAS wants the government to make proper use of its resources and to create a development strategy to 2025 with a vision toward 2040.
And part of that vision should include creating industrial parks.
VITAS wants the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Planning and Investment to start grouping textile and garment manufacturers in designated industrial parks.
For one, Vietnam News reported Giang as saying, the industrial zones would help improve the country’s sustainability and environmental protection, make it easier to treat wastewater and courage investment from foreign entities.
To help factories incorporate costly wastewater treatment plants, Giang said the government should offer preferential lending rates to companies that have made the investment or to invest in the wastewater treatment itself when the factories cannot because of the foreign funds it could attract.
The next step would be improving the infrastructure and transportation to connect those zones and increasing the investment in fabric and yarn producers and dye facilities to help address the country’s raw materials shortage.
Vietnam’s textile and garment exports for the first six months of 2016 reached $12.6 billion, a 4.72% increase over the prior year, and making up 41 percent of the country’s target for the total year.
Vietnam’s textile and apparel exports to the U.S. specifically, were up 7.41% in the same period to $11.4 billion—the lion’s share of the country’s outgoing goods, according to the Office of Textiles and Apparel.