Vietnam’s apparel exports are expected to jump 7.4 per cent this year to US$43.5 billion as factories keep up production despite surging coronavirus infections, the country’s textile and garment association told Reuters.
Among the world’s largest manufacturers for brands like Nike, Zara, and H&M, Vietnam has recently lifted most of its Covid-19 curbs, which last year disrupted production and hobbled global supply chains.
“The pandemic will have a milder impact on Vietnam’s garment and textile industry this year thanks to a high vaccination rate,” Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association vice chairman, Truong Van Cam, said in an interview this week.
Daily coronavirus infections in the Southeast Asian country reached a record high of 31,800 on Tuesday but businesses and experts said the risk of repeating last year’s lockdowns is lower now that millions of factory workers have been vaccinated and with the Omicron variant appearing to be less severe.
Cam said pandemic-related shutdowns had affected up to 1.2 million garment workers last year, or 65 per cent of the industry’s workforce. Nearly all of them have now returned to work, he added.
“Thanks to the country’s flexible policies to tackle the pandemic while restoring business activities, especially from the fourth quarter of 2021, the garment and textile industry has managed to significantly limit supply chain disruptions,” he said.
Vietnam has recorded 2.57 million Covid-19 cases and around 39,000 deaths. More than 76 per cent of its population of 98 million has received at least two vaccine doses, according to official data.
The tourism ministry has proposed fully reopening the country to foreign tourists from March 15, three months earlier than planned.
- Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor, Reuters.