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The seminar on "Better production with digital help in the textile and garment sector"
Addressing the seminar, Truong Van Cam, vice chairman cum general secretary of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS), said that automation helps reduce the number of direct workers and link data among production equipment. Therefore, the textile industry can develop in a green and clean way, save natural resources, minimise inventory, and increase competitiveness.
"The application of 3D printing technology allows creating products that suit each user, satisfying their demand while minimising waste for manufacturers,” Cam said. “In particular, the support of technology can improve productivity, then create a better income for employees, helping the textile industry break out, escape the poverty trap,” Cam added.
However, at the workshop, experts assessed that the growth of textile exports still relies on manufacturing and cheap labour and these two factors are not sustainable. As a general rule, outsourcing production will shift to countries with cheaper labour, while Vietnam's labour costs are increasing.
Besides, an important factor is the limited application of science and technology in the textile industry. According to a survey of the Institute of Strategic and Policy Research on Industry and Trade (Ministry of Industry and Trade) published in 2018, about 20 per cent of producers use high-tech equipment, especially software in product design and production management, while 70 per cent uses medium technologies, and 10 per cent uses low ones.
|The applications of 3D technology in design were demonstrated at the seminar|
Speaking at the seminar, Eu Joong Kim, Commercial Counselor at the South Korean Embassy in Vietnam, also stated that although the Vietnamese textile and garment industry has good foundations with many advantages, in the current technological development context simply relying on cheap labour costs is not enough, there must be new technology to support the competitiveness of businesses.
"If textile enterprises are not interested in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and craft plans to apply digital technology and automation in production and business, they are increasing their chances of being knocked out from the market,” Kim emphasised.
According to Kim, the newly signed EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will create great opportunities for the Vietnamese textile and apparel industry. “Vietnam has the advantage form the rules of origin under the EVFTA. Accordingly, products made from materials imported from South Korea also count as Vietnamese in origin when exported to the EU. That not only brings advantages for Vietnamese textile and apparel, but also co-operation opportunities for Korean textile enterprises,” Kim affirmed.
Vietnamese-South Korean trade relations have increased rapidly over the years. In 2018, Vietnam had a trade surplus of over $29 billion to South Korea. In the textile and apparel sector, South Korea is Vietnam's largest investor with $4.7 billion, accounting for 25 per cent of the proportion of foreign investment in the industry.