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Product safety and compliance required in global supply chains

Released at: 16:39, 19/10/2017

Product safety and compliance required in global supply chains

Photo: Hong Nhung (VET)

Conference hears concerns on challenges for supply chain enterprises in ensuring product safety and compliance.

by Khanh Chi

Product safety, responsible sourcing, compliance, and transparency are the backbone of successful and respected supply chains and were all discussed at the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA)’s 2017 Product Safety and Compliance Conference.

The conference was organized by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham Vietnam), Ho Chi Minh City Chapter, and the AAFA on October 19 in Ho Chi Minh City, following a successful holding last year.

AAFA brings together industry leaders to educate factories and suppliers in Vietnam on the critical components of manufacturing and delivering products that meet global regulations, industry compliance, and consumer demand.

The 2017 conference began with a focus on the trade outlook in Washington D.C. and post-TPP negotiations, and what this means for Vietnam. Mr. Jon Fee, Senior Counsel at Alston & Bird LLP, spoke of the potential opportunities and implications for Vietnamese apparel and footwear exporters in the post-TPP world. He highlighted other deals of interest, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and Vietnam’s complementary Two Corridors and One Economic Circle Plan.

In the 12 months ending in August, US apparel imports from Vietnam increased 8.74 per cent and footwear imports 11.83 per cent. Vietnam is a robust exporter of apparel and footwear to the US, second only to China in both. Its growth in such exports continues to outpace that of its competitors for the US apparel market, even without the benefit of any trade preference program or free trade agreement. US retailers and consumers continue to recognize Vietnam’s strengths in quality, price, and delivery.

Representatives from the Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) discussed how the supply chain is fragmented and increasingly complex. The apparel and footwear supply chain is operating in an environment where reputation and management are global issues with very high stakes. As for social compliance auditing, it is an increasingly important aspect of supply chain management, especially given how today’s global value chain operates in an instant communication environment.

The conference also discussed countering human trafficking throughout the supply chain, working conditions to keep workers safe in the factory, and ensuring factory compliance with regards to regulations, chemicals, and sustainability. Speakers discussed detoxing the supply chain and how to proactively prevent the use of restricted chemicals early in manufacturing processes.

AAFA is the national trade association representing apparel, footwear and other sewn product companies and their suppliers competing in the global market.

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