Exports of Vietnamese textiles and garments to Japan have maintained an impressive growth despite the global economic crisis, which saw the country’s exports to its two other main markets, the US and Europe, plunge dramatically.

According to the Vietnam Textiles and Apparel Association (Vitas), Vietnam earned up to 778 million USD from exporting textiles and garments to Japan in the first ten months of this year, a year-on-year increase of 15 percent compared to drop of 4.2 percent and 3.4 percent in the US and EU markets, respectively.

Vitas estimates that the country’s textiles and garments exports to Japan for the full year will reach 1 billion USD, an increase of 18-20 percent on last year.

The President of Vitas, Le Quoc An, said that the target is well within reach as Japan, the world’s second largest importer of textiles and garments, has shifted to low-cost manufacturers in Asia such as India, Bangladesh and Vietnam, instead of China.

In addition, the Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement brought about a zero-level tax for textiles and garments imported by Japan from Oct. 1, creating a huge opportunity for Vietnam to fully penetrate this enormous market.

However, to ensure the sustainable growth of textiles and garments exports, Vitas recommends that domestic enterprises invest in modern equipment and advanced technologies, as well as create new designs to improve their competitiveness, particularly for high-grade products.

At the same time as increasing production and exports to Japan, businesses have been advised to balance their exports across other markets to avoid taking any unnecessary risks.

Japan was Vietnam’s third largest importer of textiles and garments in 2008, accounting for 820 million USD, or almost 9 percent, of the country’s export turnover in this sector.