Garment exports up as govt, industry work on longterm strategy

Writer: 
Nilar
A garment factory workplace in Yangon (Photo-Zeya Nyein)
Myanmar exported US$1.86 billion (2.51 trillion kyat) worth of products from garment factories operating under the “cut-make-pack” (CMP) system as of the first week of January in fiscal year 2017-2018, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
The number represents a more than $568 million increase over exports for the same period last fiscal year, said Assistant Secretary Khin Maung Lwin of the ministry.
The ministry has made garment exports their top priority and is working with the Myanmar Garment Entrepreneurs’ Association to set a 10-year strategy to promote the sector and increase exports of the highest quality garment products to the international market, said Aung Htoo, deputy minister for commerce.
For over 20 years, Myanmar’s garment industry has been based on the CMP system. Efforts to shift more toward the higher value-added “free-on-board” (FOB) approach have not met with much success.
The country has over 400 garment factories and in 2016 employed 3500,000 workers in the industry.
Japan, South Korea and countries from European Union are importing garment products from Myanmar.
The deputy minister said Myanmar garment industry has built  momentum with countries from Asia and Europe increasing their imports from the nation.
Ministry of Commerce figures show a tripling of exports between 2010 and 2014, and reaching nearly $1 billion.
Moreover garment exports totalled $1.46 billion in 2015, accounting for about 10 per cent of all exports from Myanmar. Garment exports to the EU market had increased by 80 per cent.