Southeast Asian textiles soar


Statistics from Trading Economics show that in 2021 Cambodia was ASEAN's second-largest exporter in the sector with $5.82 billion, behind only Vietnam's $1

By Tommaso Magrini

The ASEAN region is emerging as one of the world's major textile hubs, a sector traditionally dominated by mainland China and other players. According to ASEAN Federation of Textile Industries (AFTEX) president Albert Tan, who is also vice-president of the Cambodian member of the AFTEX Textile, Apparel, Footwear and Travel Goods Association in Cambodia (TAFTAC), he pointed out that over the past decade, the overall gap between production costs, which mainly include raw materials, labour, logistics and compliance, and FOB (free-on-board) and retail prices has narrowed. This trend is expected to continue over the next decade. Participants at a dedicated forum on the subject drew up a list of projects and work plans for the coming months under Cambodia's presidency, in an attempt to consolidate the role of AFTEX and stimulate the growth of the regional textile and garment industries. Cambodia earned $1.395 billion from the export of 'garment, knitted or crocheted articles' in the first four months of 2023, down 28.49 per cent year-on-year and 40.80 per cent on a six-month basis (compared to July-October 2022), according to provisional Customs data. This category of items accounted for 19.28% of the $7.234 billion value of the Kingdom's total merchandise exports in the four-month period, compared to 25.64% and $7.606 billion in the January-April 2022 period, as well as 31.97% and $7.368 billion in the July-October 2022 period. Statistics from Trading Economics show that Cambodia was ASEAN's second largest exporter in the sector in 2021 with US$5.82 billion, behind only Vietnam's US$15.73 billion and ahead of Indonesia's US$4.35 billion, which ranked third. Mainland China, on the other hand, exported $86.46 billion in the same year.

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