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AFTEX 2023 - Renewed commitment to the spirit of ASEAN towards a sustainable future

06/06/2023 09:48 AM
Sustainability was the theme and main topic of discussion at the AFTEX’s 49th Council Meeting and 47th Plenary Session which took place in Siem Reap on 1 – 2 June 2023.
The meeting was chaired by Mr Albert Tan of the Textile, Apparel, Footwear & Travel Goods Association in Cambodia (TAFTAC) and was attended by the members of the ASEAN Federation of Textile Industries (AFTEX). TAFTAC took the helm as the Chairman of AFTEX in December last year during the handover ceremony in Ho Chih Minh, Vietnam.

(From left to right) Mr. Phongsak Assakul (AFTEX Emeritus Chairman), Mr. Albert Tan (AFTEX Chairman 2023-2024), Ms. Regina Leong (AFTEX PSG) 

During the two-day meeting, AFTEX delegates shared the importance of sustainability and the need to transform the industry to remain resilient. The meeting also concurred that the current challenges for the textile and apparel manufacturers in the ASEAN region were the downward trend in production orders, production efficiency, workers’ productivity, high costs of energy, escalated price of raw materials, logistics regulations and wages.

In his opening remarks, Mr Albert Tan stated that there is a great need for the textile and apparel industry in ASEAN to evolve from being OEM producers to OBM. He further added that the industry should source from within ASEAN and strengthen the value chain in the bloc to spur the Intra-ASEAN trades. He also emphasized that the textile and apparel industry in ASEAN should transform its business model to be agile and able to produce small orders effectively and efficiently.

The meeting was attended by the Federation members from Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The meeting deliberated on AFTEX's roles in supporting Intra-ASEAN and strengthening the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). Members from Vietnam and Thailand presented their sustainability framework and initiatives. On the other hand, Myanmar and Malaysia elaborated on the need for import substitution and value-added creation to boost the industry growth in their respective countries. Laos and Cambodia discussed green energy, skills and job creation.  
Despite not being a manufacturing hub, members from Singapore shared their business focus on sustainability, fashion design and technology innovation. Wide-range and extensive discussion saw AFTEX discuss its institutional role and dynamic capabilities to reshape the textile and apparel industry in ASEAN in the years to come.

The fruitful AFTEX 49th Council Meeting and 47th Plenary Session in Siem Reap reaped renewed commitments from its members particularly collaborating in the spirit of ASEAN and standing as one voice for all textile and apparel industries in Southeast Asia region. The meeting compiled a series of projects and work plans under the new Chairmanship of Cambodia over the next few months to attempt in strengthening the roles of AFTEX and to catalyze the growth of the textile and apparel industry in ASEAN.

The Federation scheduled its next meeting to be held in Myanmar in the next six (6) months.


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