Foreign investors eye Vietnam's textile industry ahead of free trade pact

Vietnam's textile industry has been seeing a strong flow of foreign investment over the first half of the year, a trend that many say is spurred by a trade treaty expected to be completed by this year-end.

News website Saigon Times Online reported on July 1 that Taiwanese-owned Polytex Far Eastern Company has been granted a license to build a yarn factory in the southern province of Binh Duong, which neighbors Ho Chi Minh City.

It was the largest foreign project in the province in the first six month, with a cost estimate of US$274 million for the first stage, according to the website.

Between US$700 million-US$1 billion was planned for the second stage, a representative of the investor was quoted as saying.

The company's third textile project in Vietnam was meant to take advantage of the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership, which, when signed, will give Vietnamese products duty-free access to major markets, the representative said.
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Previously, authorities in Ho Chi Minh City and the southern provinces of Dong Nai and Tay Ninh, where foreign investment was once restricted in the textile sector out of concerns over labor intensity and pollution risks, licensed three projects with the total investment of over US$1.12 billion, the news report said.

They were the biggest FDI projects to be approved in Vietnam by June 20, accounting for 29.2% of the total new pledges during the time, according to a recent report by the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

With an investment of US$660 million, Turkish-owned Hyosung Istanbul Tekstil Ltd.'s yarn factory in Dong Nai was the largest of the three, followed by the US$300-million project by British-owned Worldon Vietnam Ltd., Co. in Ho Chi Minh City.

The third one is invested by Hong Kong-owned Lu Thai Textile Co.

Vietnam licensed 757 new FDI projects with total pledges of US$3.83 billion by June 20, down 21% year on year, the Foreign Investment Agency reported.

Meanwhile, US$1.65 billion has been registered for existing projects, a year-on-year decrease of 17%.