Applying new technologies to reduce production cost and increase competitive edge is the urgent solution for the garment-textile industry given global fiercer competition.It is also necessary for businesses to seek more markets outside the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and reinforce its niche on major ones such as the US, the EU, and Japan to maintain growth. Another potential markets are countries from the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), particularly Russia. Whereas the Republic of Korea continues to be a fertile land for enterprises to explore since the Vietnam-RoK free trade agreement has come into force.

As the number of orders is likely to decline without price hike, businesses are warned to make full use of modern equipment to reduce production cost and increase competitiveness. Director General of the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) Le Tien Truong said the application of new technologies will help increase productivity and use less labour.

Besides opportunities, the fourth industrial revolution also poses challenges regarding investment, restructure and labour, he said, adding that the appropriate technological access and the clarification of self-potential will help businesses choose the most efficient way to penetrate into foreign markets.

According to the Vietnam Textile & Apparel Association (VITAS), the garment-textile exports increased nearly 10 per cent year-on-year to reach $19.8 bn in the first eight months of 2017. The US is making up the biggest proportion of 51 per cent of Vietnam’s total apparel exports. The garment-textile export in 2017 is expected to hit $30.5 bn, much higher than that of the previous year ($28.1 bn).