Vietnam spent 15.8 billion USD last year to import materials for the garments and textiles sector, posting a 16 percent year-on-year increase.

Data from the Ministry of Industry and Trade showed that the imported materials include cotton, fibre and fabrics. Of these, cotton imports were pegged at 743,000 tonnes, increasing 28 percent over 2013, with a total value of 1.4 billion USD. Imported cotton prices last year were 1.95 USD per kilogram, 3 percent lower in comparison with the previous year.

The imports of fibre amounted to 1.6 billion USD for 745,000 tonnes, representing 7 percent and 3 percent year-on-year increases in terms of quantity and value for 2014 and 2013, respectively.

The country also spent 9.5 billion USD on fabrics, while the imports of other materials touched 4.7 billion USD, increasing 25 percent over 2013.

However, the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) said the import growth rate was lower than export growth despite the high import value.

Last year, the country earned 24.5 billion USD from exports of garments and textiles to foreign markets, posting a 19 percent year-on-year rise.

Of these, garment and textile exports to the United States touched 9.8 billion USD; to Japan, 2.7 billion USD; and to the Republic of Korea, 2 billion USD.

VITAS said Vietnam's garment and textile sector will see favourable conditions due to the effects of the existing Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

The industry this year has targeted an export turnover of 28 billion USD to 28.5 billion USD, increasing 4 billion USD to 4.5 billion USD over the last year. The United States is a promising market with a turnover of more than 10 billion USD.

The Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) claimed it expects to produce 55 percent of the material for garments and textile products by 2017.

Vinatex has invested 9 trillion VND in fabric production in several industrial parks with high productivity.

This is considered one of the strengths of the sector that will help it tap into opportunities from upcoming FTAs as the pacts pay much attention to the origin of fibre and fabrics.

In addition, the increasing localisation rate will also follow the strategy of improving the value and position of the domestic sector in the global supply chain.-VNA