Vietnam says its Nike manufacturers back to full operations

About 200 contracted factories that make sportswear for Nike across Vietnam have resumed operations after months of Covid-19 suspension, the government said on Wednesday, as it races to get its key manufacturing sector back on track.

Nearly 80 per cent of Nike’s footwear makers and half of its apparel providers in Vietnam were forced to halt production in mid-July, which cam after authorities had imposed restrictions on movement to stop a major outbreak from spreading.

Almost half of the American sports giant’s footwear is made in Vietnam.

Vietnam until the middle of this year had among the world’s best coronavirus containment records, with limited disruption to its crucial manufacturing sector.

However, that changed after May, when an outbreak emerged in its southern economic hub Ho Chi Minh City and spread to surrounding manufacturing provinces.

The government-induced shutdown led to pressure from foreign business groups, which warned they could shift operations abroad.

Those curbs were lifted a month ago, but the country is now facing labour shortages. At least 3 million people in Vietnam work in textiles and footwear manufacturing.

The country has also prioritised vaccinating employees working in industrial parks to spur manufacturing activities.

Nike will continue to expand investment and production in Vietnam, the government said in its statement, which followed a meeting between Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Nike’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Noel Kinder, on the sidelines of the COP 26 summit.

Vietnam has recorded over 930,000 infections in total and 22,000 deaths, with about a third of the country’s population vaccinated.

  • Editing by Martin Petty, of Reuters.

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