Cooperation with African markets could boost fashion industry

Monday, Apr 18, 2022 07:01

A production line at Tien Hung Garment and Textile JSC in the northern province of Hung Yen. The trade relationship between Viet Nam and Africa had not been commensurate with its prospects, especially in the fashion industry. — VNA/VNS Photo Pham Kien

Although there had been significant growth in recent years, the trade relationship between Viet Nam and Africa had not been commensurate with its prospects, especially in the fashion industry, said Le Hoang Tai, deputy director of the Viet Nam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade).

He noted that not many African businesses and consumers knew about Vietnamese fashion products.

The agency co-operated with Vietnamese trade offices in African countries to organise the 2022 Viet Nam - Africa business matching webinar on fashion products last week.

This was an activity to implement the National Programme on Trade Promotion this year to support Vietnamese enterprises in the production and trading of fashion products to promote advertising, seek partners, connect business opportunities and export to African markets.

The event attracted 50 Vietnamese and African businesses manufacturing and trading in fashion to attend.

Last year recorded a remarkable growth in trade turnover between Viet Nam and Africa. Accordingly, Viet Nam's exports to Africa reached US$3.36 billion, up 18.1 per cent compared to 2020.

Exports from Africa to Viet Nam reached $4.71 billion, up 28.6 per cent compared to 2020.

"The demand for goods, including fashion consumer goods in Africa, is increasing, but not many businesses and consumers know about Vietnamese diverse fashion products,” said Tai.

Meanwhile, the textile and garment and footwear manufacturing industry in Viet Nam was very developed, meeting many large orders with high demand from many markets around the world, but the supply level for the African market only accounted for a very limited number and turnover, said Tai.

Assessing opportunities for business cooperation and investment with the Vietnamese fashion industry, Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai, deputy general secretary of the Viet Nam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas), said that with 55 countries and a population of more than 1.2 billion people, Africa's economy had grown rapidly in recent years, leading to an increase in demand.

Currently, 43 of 55 African countries had joined the WTO. These countries had gradually removed non-tariff barriers and reduced import taxes.

Emphasising opportunities for African businesses to invest in Viet Nam, Mai said that the country implemented the policy of living with COVID-19 and had joined many FTAs.

If African businesses invested in Viet Nam, they would have many opportunities to benefit, she noted.

Viet Nam had implemented many administrative procedure reform programmes, promoted e-Government, and preferential policies for FDI enterprises.

She added that with abundant human resources, Vietnamese people were friendly and adapted quickly to new issues such as digital transformation or circular economy.

"With Viet Nam's strengths, we want to call on African businesses to invest in Viet Nam to benefit. We want to call for investment here in the priority areas: fabric production. Currently, Viet Nam Nam imports a lot of fabric from China and is gradually moving towards localisation to benefit from the rules of origin from FTAs. We call on green and clean investment in the fabric manufacturing sector using renewable energy, applying the circular economy," said Mai.

Mai assessed that the African market had great potential, and there was still a lot of room for Vietnamese enterprises.

It was necessary to survey and monitor statistics from trade counsellors to find opportunities for Vietnamese enterprises to export to Africa and invest in garment factories.

"With the amount of cotton Viet Nam is importing from West and Central Africa, I think that in the near future, if we have a good cooperation opportunity, we can still increase the amount of cotton that we are importing from Africa so that Viet Nam and the continent have win-win cooperation," she said. — VNS

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