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Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) - an effective assistant for the development of the industry

16/07/2021 02:35 PM
On the occasion of the 22nd anniversary of the establishment of VITAS, the Editorial Board would like to send to you an article by former Chairman of VITAS (term 1999-2010) Le Quoc An - the eldest brother of Vietnam's textile & garment industry, one of the founder of VITAS, a talented leader who has a vision and strategic direction to develop Vietnam's textile industry to a new level.









Mr. Le Quoc An

Former Chairman of VITAS
(term 1999 - 2010)
Former Chairman of VINATEX


Vietnam's textile & garment sector has a history of development over 4000 years ago, but the textile industry was only born about 120 years ago with the establishment of Nam Dinh Textile Factory in 1898.

After 1954, in the North, a number of factories were developed such as: 8/3 Textile, Vinh Phuc Textile, Nam Dinh Silk Textile, Dong Xuan Knitting... with an output of about 150 million m2/year. In the South, a number of large factories have also been established such as: Sicovina, Vinatexco, Vinatefinco, Vimytex, Lien Phuong, Donatex and Bay Hien weaving village, Quang Nam textile village... with an output of about 250 million m2/year. Vietnam's garment industry was actually formed after 1976 to perform processing contracts for the Soviet Union with an output of about 10-15 million products with an export value of about rubles 100 million per year.

Since 1986, Vietnam started to implement the policy of Renovation and Economic Opening, promoting trade with countries around the world. Since 1987, the first customers from Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore have come to research and order and invest in opening textile and garment factories in Vietnam. At the same time, Vietnam's private textile and garment industry also began to form and develop. However, the export capacity of the industry is still very modest. In 1990, the industry's exports were only USD 223 million. Vietnam's textile and garment industry at that time was very small compared to other countries in the region such as Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines...

In 1995, Vietnam Textile and Garment Corporation was established by the Prime Minister on the basis of merging two state-owned corporations in the industry: Vietnam Textile Corporation and Vietnam Garment Corporation with the expectation of connecting the two industries together to increase competitiveness. The idea of ​​establishing the National Association of Textile and Apparel Industry also came after that. However, the formation of this organization is also quite arduous because there are too many procedures to carry out and especially many businesses are not interested in having a common association for both the textile and garment industries - which in the past businesses in both industries lack cooperation with each other.

Advocacy has been carried out persistently since the end of 1996 on the basis of the business force of Vietnam National Textile and Garment Corporation with key state-owned enterprises in localities such as Garment 20 Co. of the Ministry of Defense, March 29 Textile & Garment Co. of Da Nang City, Long An Textile Co. of Long An Province, Legamex Co. of HCM City, Garment 2 Co. in Hai Phong, Thai Nguyen Garment Co. in Thai Nguyen Province, Tien Tien Garment Co. of Tien Giang Province, Dong Tien Garment Co. of Dong Nai Province, Tay Do Garment Co. of Hau Giang Province, Hong Quan Textile Co. of Thai Binh Province, and especially the participation of The HCM City Textile Garment - Embroidery - Knitting Association (Agtek)

The process of carrying out the advocacy work and the steps to establish the Association at the Ministry of Industry and the Government's Organization and Personnel Department were Mr. Bui Xuan Khu - then General Director of Vietnam Textile and Garment Corporation and Mr. Huynh Van Chinh - General Director of March 29 Textile and Garment Co. actively supported. On October 21st 1999, the Congress established the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) for the first time with nearly 200 members, representing over 70% of the production capacity of Vietnamese textile, garment and raw materials enterprises was successfully held at Melia Hanoi Hotel. The Congress elected an Executive Committee consisting of 48 people. Unfortunately, the Association was not able to admit members who are foreign investors at that time because the law did not allow it. To overcome this regulation, from the 2nd term, the Association has admitted associate members who are enterprises and foreign investment associations in the textile and garment industry in Vietnam. Practice has proven that foreign associate members have then made many positive contributions to the Association's activities and the development of the Industry.

Immediately after its establishment, the Association has had many active support activities for businesses. One of the highlights is the connection with major US textile and garment importers at the end of 2001 in New York when the Association held the industry's first exhibition of textiles & garment here. Through this exhibition, major importers such as Limited Brand, JC Penny, Mast Industries, Target, Diesel, Victoria Secret... decided to enter Vietnam to study the possibility of importing textiles and garments in early 2002. VITAS held two subsequent exhibitions in Hanoi and HCM City in April 2002 to welcome representatives of these importers. As a result, along with the effective impact of the BTA, in 2002, the textile and garment export turnover to the US reached over USD 980 million, 20 times higher than the previous years. From 2008 up to now, every year the Association has organized a delegation to attend the Magic Show fair in Las Vegas to receive orders. Vietnam's textile and garment exports to the US were worth over USD 13 billion in 2018 and the US has accounted for 50% of the export market share of Vietnamese textiles and garments for more than 10 years.

Another memorable mark in the association's activities is the annual selection of Typical Textile Garment enterprises. Every year, typical enterprises of the Industry, including FDI enterprises, have been met by Government and State leaders and listened to their voices. Prime Ministers such as Phan Van Khai, Nguyen Tan Dung, Nguyen Xuan Phuc; and the Presidents such as Nguyen Minh Triet, Truong Tan Sang... are those who have often cared about grasping news and directing to serve the development of the Industry. There is a funny story that during the meeting with a typical enterprise in 2008, President Nguyen Minh Triet was very happy when he accidentally shook hands and recognized Mr. Pham Xuan Hong - the typical CEO of "Sai Gon 3 Garment JSC", who worked together inline before 1975 in Saigon.

After 20 years of operation, the Association is proud to have always been an effective assistant to help the country's Textile and Garment industry have outstanding development: spinning output increased more than 12 times, fabric output increased 6 times, garment production increased by more than 100 times, export turnover increased by about 23 times. In 2018, the export turnover of Vietnam's textile and garment industry reached over USD 36 billion, of which the added value reached over 50% of the turnover. Vietnam has become the third largest country in the world in terms of textile and garment exports.

The Association's supporting role for the development of the Industry has been summarized in the following aspects:

1. Linking businesses in the Industry, especially between Garment enterprises, Textile enterprises and Raw materials enterprises to create value chains to increase the ability to meet big customers' requirements. With the exchange connection in the Association, many links between large units with many orders and local satellites for mutual development have been established.

2. The focal point for synthesizing, analyzing and providing information on the domestic and international textile and garment industry to help businesses orient their activities appropriately. The monthly Textile Economy Newsletter has been one of the most important sources of business information for many years now.

3. Representatives of enterprises in the industry to build strategic cooperation with international textile and garment organizations. VITAS has always been an active member in international and regional textile organizations: International Clothing & Textile Bureaus (ICTB), International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF), American Importers Association (US ITA), ASEAN Federation Textile Industries(AFTEX)... VITAS also admits FDI textile and garment organizations in Vietnam such as the Textile and Garment Association of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, the United States ... as associate members.

4. Representing the voice of the Industry to work with the Government and relevant Ministries and Sectors to proactively develop policies and regimes that are favorable for the operation and development of enterprises in the Industry. Representing employers in the Industry to build win-win cooperation with worker representatives. The association is currently a member of the National Wage Council. The Association also plays a role as a representative for the interests of the Industry in the negotiations to open the market in the Textile and Garment Agreement (2004) and the monitoring mechanism with the US (2007) and the Free Trade Agreements (FTA)…

With new advantages from the Government's policy in cooperation, opening foreign markets and attracting FDI; With the efforts of the business community and with the Association's 20-year experience, it is predicted that Vietnam's textile and garment industry will develop even more strongly in the coming time in both quantity and quality. The structure of Vietnam's textile and garment industry will be transformed in the direction of strengthening the production chain of raw materials, and increasing added value as well as the proportion of high-value items in exports. Export turnover is growing at an average of 8-10% per year, and is expected to reach at least USD 60 billion by 2025.

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Copyright © 2021 Vietnam Textile & Apprel Association (VITAS)
Head Office : 15th Floor, Office Building, C1 Thanh Cong Building, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi.
Phone : 84-24-39349608 / 39361167 / 39364134
Ho Chi Minh City Branch : LP-05.OT19 & LP-05.OT20,
Landmark Plus Building, Vinhome Central Park,
208 Nguyen Huu Canh, Ward 22, Binh Thanh District, HCMC.
Phone : 84-28-22411485 - Fax: 84-28-38233465
Email : info@vietnamtextile.org.vn

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