Apparel and textile exports from India to Vietnam have grown by 48 per cent in just 2 years. Now that’s some number!
This was confirmed by K. Srikar Reddy, Indian Consul General in HCM City while speaking at a business interaction meeting in Ho Chi Minh City on 21 November 2019. Reddy said that the apparel and textile exports from India to Vietnam in 2016-17 was US $ 390 million, which rose sharply by 48 per cent to touch US $ 578 million in 2018-19. However, a lot still needs to be explored and therefore there cannot be better time than now for Indian companies to come to Vietnam and invest in the textile industry.
Yes, the numbers distinctly tell us that there cannot be a better time than now. The Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS), which co-organised the event, was also vocal about the necessity for active Indian participation in country’s textile sector. Vu Duc Giang, Chairman, VITAS, said that Indian firms should invest big in yarn, weaving, dyeing and printing so as to reap rich benefits from the market access that is owing to the free trade agreements (FTAs) signed by Vietnam lately. Also, it is pertinent to mention here that Vietnam’s trade deficit with China continues growing – widening from US $ 11.05 billion to US $ 16.29 billion in the first 6 months of 2019.
While endorsing what the VITAS Chairman said, Reddy commented that under the India-ASEAN FTA, majority of yarns, woven and knit fabrics could be imported duty-free from India and thus India could become an ever-dependable trade partner for Vietnam.
There is lot of untapped potential in the textile trade between both countries and that needs to be focused on. Dr. Siddhartha Rajagopal, ED, Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council of India, averred that in 2018, Vietnam’s entire textile imports were US $ 27.9 billion, but what’s noteworthy is that its imports from India were paltry US $ 640 million. This is just 2.29 per cent and doesn’t sound good. Therefore, India should play an important role in changing these numbers.
It is also imperative to note here that India exported over US $ 6 billion worth man-made fibre textile (MMFT) products to over 150 nations in 2018-19. Notably, India’s exports to Vietnam were US $ 103.7 million with India’s share of Vietnam’s MMFT imports being a little over 3 per cent. And imports? India’s imports were US $ 7.3 billion and same from Vietnam were US $ 300 million.
So, how do you improve the relations!
Apart from the frequent visit of the delegates from both the countries, there needs to be good participation from apparel and textile firms of both countries at the events held in both countries.
In fact, the HCM event saw Dr. Rajagopal inviting apparel and textile firms in Vietnam to take part in IND-TEXPO – A Reverse Buyer Seller Meet. The meet, to be organised by Texprocil, is scheduled to be held in Coimbatore, India, from 17 to 19 March 2020.
IND-TEXPO will indeed be a great opportunity for visitors to source the best of yarns, made-ups, fabrics, technical textiles and home textiles from India.
And it’s not as if Vietnamese companies have not been a part of Indian textile events and forums. One remembers their active participation in 2018 India International Silk Fair (IISF) that was held in New Delhi. Pham Sanh Chau, Ambassador of Vietnam to India, had attended the fair and was highly impressed with the way the fair was conducted and the response.
In early November 2019, Vietnam Trade, Investment, and Tourism Promotion Forum was held in New Delhi, where yet again Pham Sanh Chau marked his presence and said, “Indian companies are welcome in Vietnam and will get all support. Vietnam is doing very well in garment export and we need companies that can support us for raw materials.”
Several industry delegates from both the countries representing their companies and services attended the forum, which included Meenakshi Lekhi, Indian Member of Parliament and OP Lohia, CMD, Indo Rama Synthetics – one of the largest producers of textile raw materials. Here one would like to mention that the recently concluded 2019 VTG fair in Ho Chi Minh City saw good participation from Indian companies. Alok Bharti, Chief Representative, Sudima International Pte. Ltd. said, “Yarn is already having no duty if imported from India. Fabric and processing sector also have good potential and we have seen this time in the 2019 VTG fair a huge participation from Texprocil and Septra, which shows the importance of Vietnam market. I hope the trade grows big in the coming future.”
Such events and forums help enhance textile trade between both the countries, and it’s good to see both countries actively being a part of the same. With decent representation from different industries, one could see many valuable discussions at the forum. Industry experts and delegates from both countries discussed on all methods and strategies to improve textile trade relations.
And the Government of both countries too are putting efforts to enhance the trade relations. Direct flights have started between India and Ho Chi Minh City, the commercial capital city of Vietnam. Besides, IndiGo too recently launched direct flights between Kolkata and Ho Chi Minh City. And very soon, Vietnam-based airline Vietjet is set to start a direct flight from Delhi to Ho Chi Minh City.
Some Indian companies, which have been in Vietnam for some time now, have been doing very well and Premco Global Vietnam is one among them. While substantiating the fact that India has a rich fibre and yarn production industry, Kamal Mangwani, Vice General Director, Premco Global Vietnam averred, “Trade relations between the two countries are in good conditions currently, more so when they are strategic partners. Vietnam has a great demand for cotton yarns, fabrics and made-ups. Garment industry is booming but there is lack of supply of good quality raw materials.”
He added, “Lack of dyeing facilities in Vietnam at the moment also shows a good potential to foreign investors. With exchanges at the highest level like the President and Prime Ministers visiting each other, there has been a good infrastructure and background to come and invest in Vietnam.”
But more such Indian companies need to widen its spread in Vietnam. As VITAS believes it can be a win-win situation for both the countries. While Vietnam can get the best of technology and wide variety of textile materials and products from India, India too can expand its presence and leave a mark in Vietnam.
The efforts are there but probably not enough! More events, more forums, enhanced logistics services and trade agreements will go a long way in strengthening the cooperation between both the countries.