Thai Textile and Garment Industry Builds on Combined strengths and New Strategies to Survive Competition
Fashion Article Posted March 29, 2010

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BIFF&BIL 2010 to be organized during 1 - 4 April at Impact Muang Thong Thani
An ideal platform for the entire industry to express their manufacturing potential and creative ideas

Despite a sharp drop in its export revenues in 2009 due to the global economic downturn, the Thai textile and garment industry is optimistic about the future. By integrating strengths and adopting new strategies to survive competition and reach out to new markets, the industry expects to see 10-15% growth in export performance for 2010.

Exports of textiles and garments from major global players like China, Eastern Europe, Mexico and Cambodia were down sharply in the last two years as a result of economic recession worldwide. There is no exception for Thailand, however, experiencing a moderate decrease of 13% in 2009, said Dej Pattanasettapong, former Chairman of the National Federation of Thai Textile Industries (NFTTI). The country's ability to survive the downtrend of the global textile and garment market can be attributed to continuous product development and improved quality assurance that are trusted by international buyers. But it is not enough. On-trend designs, upgraded manufacturing process, strategic branding, trend setting and better distribution network are also matter for us to step further putting Thailand on the world's fashion map by the next ten years.

He added, Other key factors include our human resources, especially Thai fashion designers, who are highly competent at producing trend-based, season-oriented collections. Support from relevant industries has also played an important role in the success.  

According to Pongsak Assakul, president of the Thai Textile Manufacturing Association (TMA), despite economic and political challenges during recent years, the Thai textile industry is rebounding quickly, with export growth of 10-15% forecast for 2010. The forecast is based on optimism gained through the region's expanding opportunity.  As part of this, the Source Asian Full Service Alliance, or SAFSA, was founded on the collaborative effort of 10 member countries of the ASEAN Federation of Textile Industries (AFTEX) and the ASEAN Competitiveness Enhancement (ACE), and funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The objective of this 3-year initiative is to enable the effective pairing of local manufacturers and buyers within the region and from around the world, promoting ASEAn's capacities and regional synergy to facilitate the needs of the global market.

With products spanning woven tops, woven bottoms, sleep wear, lingerie, athletic wear, children wear, knitwear, etc, initial target is 20 pairs of manufacturers and buyers. Participating brands of this initiative to date include Guess, JC Penny, Polo Ralph Lauren, VF, PVH, as well as European brands such as Debenham's, Hugo Boss, Max Mara and Benetton, for instance.
By participating in this project, manufacturers are able to optimise operations across the supply chain: cost reduction, production efficiency, quality assurance and timely product delivery, said Mr Pongsak.

Part of the financial support from USAID will be used for the provision of industry experts and advisors, brainstorming sessions, labour skill enhancement and participations in international trade fairs, especially in ASEAN countries, the US, Europe and Japan.      

Komsan Vijitvikrom, president of the Bobae Garment Association, pointed out that street fashion and ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) are currently driving the country's textile and garment industry to a large extent. We are making a good progress with these sectors particularly in terms of design, quality and branding. There is an increasing number of emerging manufacturers enter into the industry, many of which are SMEs.

Useful advice and business matching service by the Department of Export Promotion (DEP) has been a big help. We expect to see 5-10% growth this year. However, the first things to do is to regain confidence of overseas trade partners and buyers which once has been altered by the country's political uncertainty, to add cultural value to our products and to explore new markets. Targets for our ODM and street fashion include Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, India and the Middle East.

He continued, BIFF&BIL is an ideal platform for the entire industry to express their manufacturing potential and creative ideas. By working with DEP, and by consolidating our strengths from industry expertise, unique craftsmanship, diversity and innovation, we see greater opportunities for industry networking and winning new businesses. The ratio of domestic to overseas customers from this year's fair is 40:60.

Riding on the theme, Look East, BIFF&BIL 2010 will feature about 1,200 booths from more than 1,000 selected domestic and overseas exhibitors.  Exhibits from Thai textile and garment industry range from fibers and fabrics, textiles, clothing and accessories, to leather products and materials, and shoes as well as trend books and fashion media, equipment and software solutions all from OEM to ODM perspectives.

Special Events include ASEAN and Japan Pavilion, 48 fashion shows, Asian Designer Congress, a series of seminars and business matching.      
With the continuous support from the government and private sectors, we are confident that the industry will be able to compete in the world's fashion arena. Our manufacturers and designers within the textile and garment industry are now in place to collaborate and deliver the best to ASEAN and emerging markets around the world, said Mr Dej.

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