The garment industry has set itself an export target of 15 billion USD next year despite a slew of possible hurdles in its path.

This year's target is 13 billion USD, which is most likely to achieve after already exporting 10 billion USD worth goods.

The Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas) listed challenges like high inflation and unstable interest and exchange rates next year.

The sector would also be affected by the ongoing public debt crisis in the EU, one of the country's key markets, it said, as it would be by the economic problems at home.

Inflation in Vietnam is likely to be around 10 percent next year, higher than in countries that compete with Vietnam for the global textile market.

This means costs like electricity, water, fuel and salaries would continue to rise, impacting the sector's competitiveness.

A large number of textile firms lack funds for production and expansion because of the continuing high loan interest rates despite the Government's efforts to reduce them. Only a small number of firms have been able to get credit on easy terms.

The industry has mapped out measures to be taken to achieve next year's target, including gradually reducing its dependence on sub-contracting for other producers.

The growth in exports to key markets like the EU, the US , and Japan was expected to fall by 10-15 percent next year, Vitas said.

Thus, combating this fall is another measure the sector eyes.

Besides, exploration of new markets like Russia , Canada , and South Korea will be accelerated.

The sector also plans to increase the use of domestically sourced feedstock to reduce costs and adopt proper policies to attract workers.

None of these problems are new, however. The industry has been facing inflation and a relentless rise in feedstock prices, but still managed to achieve growth, topping 11.2 billion USD in exports last year.

In the latter half of this year too the sector has been facing challenges in getting orders, but Le Tien Truong, deputy general director of the Vietnam Textile and Garment Group, said it remained on track to fulfil its export target.

Exports to the EU, the US , and Japan had been growing as scheduled, he said.

As of the end of October, exports to the EU were up 41 percent. They were up 14 percent to the US and a whopping 52 percent to Japan./.