Textile Today asked industry leaders that, is the pandemic situation only reason for Vietnam catching up with Bangladesh or there are some other reasons? What is your expert opinion?
Syed Nurul Islam, CEO and Chairman, WELL Group
Many apparel entrepreneur’s perceptions are that due to the COVID-19 pandemic our exports have been low last year. Our good days are ahead, we will witness export growth in the future. Here is my fear and objection.
We are not progressing enough because of the COVID-19 situation. On the other hand, Vietnam has advanced due to its unilateral progress on various fronts.
The world market has undergone a major transformation in the fashion industry in the last five years. That is, the demand for garments made of manmade fiber (MMF) has increased many times more than garments made of cotton yarn.
It can be said that now about 60-70 percent of the world market is occupied by garments made of manmade fiber (MMF). 30-40 percent is occupied by garments made of cotton yarn. And historically Bangladesh’s textile and garment sector are still cotton dependent. This is our strength as well as weakness.
If we do not keep pace with the MMF demand of the global market, we will definitely lose the market if we cannot build the manmade fiber-based textile and garment sector in the next 3-5 years and Vietnam will go further.
India and Pakistan will control the cotton-based clothing market. Vietnam and China will control the market of the manmade fiber-based clothing market. My fear is whether we will go down from third to fifth. So, this is the time to move fast.
Md Salauddin, Chairman, ASK Apparel & Textiles Sourcing Ltd.
Head of Operation, Bunon
Vietnam is excelling rapidly in exports. Below are some crucial points where the country is doing better:
- Due to the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement, the export of duty-free goods has taken Vietnam forward.
- Geographical location is another big factor. After China, Vietnam is next to the buyers, that’s why they are getting more orders.
- Vietnam is ahead of us in negotiations. Due to their high negotiation skills, they are doing well in other sectors besides textile and apparel business.
- Vietnam has emphasized and is working on product value addition, diversification. Eventually they are getting better price now and they are taking less low-price orders.
- Synthetic raw material is readily available in Vietnam and has a large number of educated and skilled workers.
- The USA and Vietnam trade war has added a dimension to the textile business for Vietnam. Maximum orders that China is expected to receive are coming to Vietnam due to business monopolies.
- Another aspect is that Chinese investors are setting up separate units and new factories in Vietnam.
- Due to banking and customs problems in Bangladesh, investors are worried about whether they will get a return on their investment. But in this regard, the Vietnamese government is providing all kinds of support to their apparel sector.
I will never put Vietnam ahead of us. Because Bangladesh’s garments sector is a mature sector. We have all the facilities for the growth of the garment sector in Bangladesh. In apparel production, our capacity is much higher and also the number of garments is more here. Even before the pandemic, we exported close to 40 billion USD.
If we follow the points that Vietnam has left behind, we will be twice as much ahead of Vietnam and our exports will be close to 50 billion.
I believe in the next five years, we can easily outshine Vietnam. We just have to move forward with a long-term plan. Currently, new talented entrepreneurs, educated manpower and talented freshers’ are showing us the potential.
Mohiuddin Chowdhury, Clifton Apparels
The COVID-19 is the major reason for this depression in the fashion apparel industry. In addition, there are multiple reasons besides the pandemic that hurt our apparel manufacturing sector. Many factories were shut.
Not to mention, cotton and yarn price have gone up steeply. Increasing production cost while globally prices of cotton made apparel items have gone down and increasing our manufacturers’ woes.
At the same time, manmade fiber (MMF) made apparel demand has grown significantly. Where Bangladesh lags.
To move forward, we must strengthen in manufacturing value-added apparel making. Which fetch better prices in the global market.
But there are some bottlenecks in MMF manufacturing. The investment costs are much higher in MMF, which needs high-end technical machinery, skilled people are needed. And it has a higher tax rate. Whereas local RMG makers are financially not that strong to accommodate such a big investment.
To put it in a nutshell, we need all kinds govt. and other stakeholders support to incorporate MMF and other technical textile production facilities here.
We must focus on building a skilled workforce to run these highly technical product manufacturing.
At the same time, we must welcome foreign investment to enable these high-end products. Then ultimately the Chinese investors who are investing in Vietnam – or other investors will feel ease to invest here.