The textile and garment sector posted an export surplus of 6.5 billion USD in 2011, 1.5 billion USD higher than last year's figure, according to the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas).

The surplus has brought the industry's localisation ratio – the percentage of materials used by textile and garment companies that are produced locally – to 48 percent.

In spite of high inflation, the country's garment exports to key markets experienced significant growth, such as Japan (52 percent), the EU (41 percent) and the US (14 percent).

Le Tien Truong, Vitas' vice chairman, attributed growth in the sector to well-conducted market forecasts, efficient investment and production and growing efforts by exporters to win the trust of international partners.

However, experts suggested the industry should reduce dependence on imports.

Greater production of raw materials in the future would help the industry meet major export contracts and reduce business risks due to fluctuations in raw material prices in the world market, they said.

It should also gradually evolve from contract manufactures to original design manufacturers (ODM) to increase value and win more FOB (Free on Board) orders from foreign clients, they said.

By the year-end, ODM contracts earned the sector just 800 million USD, accounting for 5 percent of its total export turnover, Vitas said, adding that the industry aimed to raise the ratio to 15 percent in 2015 and 20 percent in 2020.

Despite hidden challenges globally, the sector has targeted a 15 billion USD export turnover in 2012, a surge of 12 percent against last year's figure./.