How did Vietnams textiles and garments conquer the US market?

VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnam had to proceed down a thorny path and overcome many difficulties to cement its firm position in the US textiles and garments market. -

July 23, 2015 Right after the two countries normalized diplomatic relations, in 1995, 30 Vietnamese business leaders and I had the chance to attend a 2-month training course in the US organized by AAVF, the veterans association. We practiced at Oxford Industries, a garment company in Atlanta, Le Quoc An, former chair of the Vietnam Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex), said.

This was the first time we learned about the way of organizing production and business of a US company in the garment industry. And this was the first time we approached the US business culture, An said.

However, only six years later, when the Vietnam-US Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) was signed was An able to use the knowledge he got at the training course.

In late 2001, Vinatex, Vietnams largest textile and garment corporation, began approaching the US market. An led a group of 20 businesses to the US where they organized an exhibition and opened Vinatexs representative office.

Vietnams textiles and garments to the US began increasing significantly in 2002.

One year before, in 2001, Vietnam could export $47 million worth of apparel products to the US, while the figure soared by 20 times to $957 million the next year.

Two years later, export turnover reached $2.4 billion in 2004, then moved to $3.2 billion in 2006 before climbing to $10 billion in 2014.

Vietnam, as the second largest apparel exporter to the US, now holds 10 percent of US market share.

However, the achievements were gained only after Vietnam overcame many difficulties.

In April 2003, when Vietnam and the US signed the textile agreement, the US set the 7 percent limit on the annual apparel export growth rate to the market.

The quota scheme was only removed in January 2007, when Vietnam officially joined the WTO.

However, while the quota scheme was removed, the US imposed a strict monitoring scheme over Vietnams exports in 2007-2008.

Only in 2009, under pressure from the US businesses themselves, the technical barriers were removed.

Textiles & garments have become the biggest export item of Vietnam, while the US has changed from the smallest into the biggest export market.

The textile & garment export revenue is three times higher than footwear exports, and 5.7 times higher than seafood.

However, Vietnam has been warned that with the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), the country will encounter more ordeals which will not be any less demanding than what was experienced over the last 15 years.

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