According to the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex), apparel exports took the largest share with 17 percent growth to $21 billion, and textile exports accounted for $3 billion.
Growth in Europe was greatest at 17 percent, exports to the U.S. increased 12.5% and Japan saw 9 percent growth.
Vietnam is facing fierce competition for low-cost countries like Bangladesh, India and Indonesia, which according to Vinatex, have more material and labor resources, but Vietnamese businesses have started revamping their production methods from outsourcing activities to freight on board (FOB), for example, and are focused on improving their competitiveness.
Free trade agreements the country has signed and will sign, like the FTA with the E.U., South Korea and the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, are said to have led to some of the shift in export increases and are expected to provide future opportunities for the textile and garment sector.
With regard to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) a trade agreement that the United States is negotiating with 11 other countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam), Vinatex said the agreement will “bring hope for the future of the Vietnamese textile and garment industry.”
According to a statement on the Vinatex website, “90 percent of Vietnamese exports to countries in the TPP will not attract tariffs, which provides attractive opportunities to Vietnamese industry.”