Textiles and garment export turnover for August rose 0.2 percent from the previous month to reach almost 2.2 billion USD, according to statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Department for Import-Export.

The August figure helped bring the sector’s export value for the first eight months of 2014 to 13.65 billion USD, a 19.7 percent year-on-year increase. This is the first time over the past two years garment and textiles return to the first place among processing-manufacturing sectors in term of export value.

However, General Secretary of Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) Dang Phuong Dung, expressed her concern that despite the high turnover, value added of the industry remained relatively low due to its reliance on imported raw materials. Domestic suppliers can meet only 1 percent of cotton and 20.2 percent of cloth for the sector.

As several free trade agreements between Vietnam and foreign partners are coming, the sector is under pressure to develop its domestic material sources and modernise production models in order to raise its products’ added value and quality.

Le Tien Truong, Director General of the Vietnam Textiles and Garment Group (Vinatex) said local businesses have accumulated experience and a skilled workforce through many years of sub-contracting. What they should do now is to shift to a modern production model to produce products of high added value.

The textiles and garment sector is one of the largest industries in Vietnam and a top earner of hard currency for the country.-VNA