The Thailand Garment Manufacturers Association (TGMA) has led a delegation to Vietnam with the aim of learning about its textile market and to look for partners in the sector.

Ms. Phasiree Orawattanasrikul, Vice Chairman of the Subcommittee on Trade and Investment Promotion of TGMA, said that her association has organized two large-scale conference in order to help enterprises of the two countries meet, exchange experiences and explore investment opportunities.

Previously, many Thai businesses have successfully acquired Vietnamese retail enterprises through mergers and acquisitions. In the textile sector, however, Thailand’s goal is to find partners to establish joint ventures.

Mr. Nguyen Van Tuan, Deputy General Secretary of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS), said that Thailand is one of the leading countries in the textile sector and that it plans to become a fashion centre of Asia. “Vietnam's textile industry has a large scale, but is not strong because of dependence on import raw materials in over 70 per cent of the production process. As a result, the combination of a strong manufacturing country like Vietnam with a country strong in the supply of materials and design such as Thailand is necessary to become a strong textile centre,” said Mr. Tuan.

VITAS, to attract Thai businesses to invest in the textile sector, proposed to the government a new textile industrial area across thousands of hectares. This model has proved successful in Turkey, South Korea, India and China. The government agreed and has approved a 1,500ha pilot project in Nam Dinh province.