Local apparel exporters have great chances to increase their exports to France as well as other EU countries, Sai Gon Giai Phong newspaper cited experts at a seminar held recently in HCM City as saying.

According to Alice Baey, global purchasing director of French retailer Casino Group, operator of the Big C supermarket chain in Vietnam, although Chinese and Bangladeshi garment products hold large market shares in France, Vietnamese garment manufacturers have many opportunities to increase market share as French importers are keen to diversify their supply sources.

Baey said that French importers are looking to Vietnam because they don’t want to depend too much on supplies from China and Bangladesh.

The French textile and garment market is full of challenges but strong growth is still seen in the fashion segment for young people, she said.

Vietnamese suppliers should pay attention to the diversity of types and patterns to get a firm foothold in France, one of the world’s leading fashion countries, she added.

Jo Bueters, a technical advisor from Casino Group, said France and the EU want to diversify supply markets and on-time delivery is a prerequisite condition when exporting to these markets.
Vietnamese garment producers should take advantage of access to skilled workers to make high-grade products for the EU, she suggested.

According to participants at the seminar, the EU is now the second-largest buyer of Vietnamese garment products. However, Vietnam’s garment exports to each EU country, especially France, remain modest.

At present, France has a demand to import 6.5 billion USD worth of garment products each year.

Despite enjoying a growth of over 38 percent against 2010, Vietnam’s garment exports to France only reached 202 million USD in 2011, making France the 11th among Vietnamese garment’s export markets.

France’s garment imports from Vietnam are only equivalent to one half or one third of those of other EU countries like Germany, the UK and Spain./.