Garment firms look to Europe

Enterprises from Hanoi hope to find more business opportunities in the textile, garment and footwear industries in Eastern European countries in the future.

At a seminar on encouraging trade between Hanoi and the Czech Republic held in Prague on August 20, Le Hong Thang, director of the Hanoi Industry and Trade Department, said last year Hanoi's garment and textile export values reached US$1.6 billion, including $436 million from the European Union market.

As a result, Hanoi's textile and garment enterprises joined an international fashion fair in Brno, the Czech Republic, starting on August 22 and continuing until today, as well as a seminar held by the Hanoi Industry and Trade Department and Industry Czech Republic before the fair, Thang said.

A delegation of Hanoi's textile, garment, leather and footwear enterprises expected to find more importers for their products at the European market, including the Eastern European region, and also partners providing materials for the textile, garment, leather and footwear sectors of Hanoi, he said.

Last year, Hanoi's enterprises spent US$662.5 million to import cloth, US$125.6 million for fibre imports and US$196 million for sub-materials.

Chairman of the Czech-Vietnam Friendship Association, Marcel Winter, said Czech enterprises lacked information about Vietnam's economy as well as enterprises, reported Vietnam News Agency.

"In fact, Vietnam's economy has gained strong growth in recent years and now has great potential in developing further," Winter said. "Vietnamese enterprises have products with good quality for Czech customers, while they need imports of high-quality equipment and machines from Czech Republic."

At the seminar, which brought together 70 companies from the two countries, Pham Ngoc Diep, deputy general director of the Dong Xuan Knitting Company, said that in the past the Eastern European market had provided key export markets for her company, but later the company faced difficulties in exporting its products.

So Dong Xuan must change to develop export activities to Japan and to be successful in the new market, said Diep, adding that now the company plans to return to the Eastern European market for its sustainable development in the future.

Livse Safrankova, director of Libka Safr Fashion Company, one of 50 Czech enterprises at the seminar, said her company had cooperated with Elise Fashion Company of Hanoi.

The cooperation with Vietnamese partners was expected to bring profits and advantages in competitiveness to the company, Safrankova said. The return to traditional export markets in the Eastern European region for Vietnam enterprises would bring interest in development and business for the companies of the two countries, Thang added.

According to Vietnam's General Department of Customs, Vietnam gained a year-on-year growth in export values of textile and garments of 10.4 per cent, reaching $12.6 billion in the first seven months of this year.

Meanwhile, Vietnam achieved a year-on-year increase in the export value of footwear at 20.9 per cent to $6.97 billion in the first seven months of this year.