India is one of the major material suppliers of Vietnam’s garment and textile sector, but trade value between the two sides remains modest. Therefore, Indian firms are working to promote trade activities in the Vietnamese market.
Earlier this month, the Indian Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City worked with the Vietnam Cotton and Spinning Association (VCOSA) to hold a meeting between Vietnamese firms and their Indian counterparts joining the 18th International Textile and Garment Industry Exhibition.
According to the General Statistics Office, in 2017, trade between Vietnam and India hit US$7.62 billion, with Vietnam’s exports at US$3.75 billion.
In the first nine months of 2018, bilateral trade hit US$8.27 billion, up 47% over the same period in 2017, bringing the countries closer to the target of US$15 billion in two-way trade in 2020.
The two sides have defined garment and textiles as a prioritised sector in bilateral ties.
Indian General Consul in Ho Chi Minh City K Srikar Reddy cited Indian statistics showing that in the 2017-2018 fiscal year, India’s global exports of garment and textile hit US$36.73 billion, including US$555 million to Vietnam, up 42% over the previous fiscal year.
From April to August 2018 of the 2018-2019 fiscal year, India earned US$257 million from selling garment and textile products to Vietnam, up 59% over the same period a year earlier.
Although trade of garment and textile between the two countries has enjoyed impressive growth in the past two years, the two sides have much potential to continue boosting partnership in the area.
The Vietnamese garment and textile sector imports cotton, accessories and fabric for production.
Under the free trade agreement between India and the ASEAN, most cotton and woven cotton fabric and knitted fabric imported from India will enjoy tax exemption from January 1, 2019, making India a competitive supplier of garment and textile materials and machines for Vietnam.
Last year, Vietnam imported US$19 billion worth of materials, mostly yarn and fabric from major suppliers such as China, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan (China). However, imports from India were modest.
Shailesh Martis from the Cotton Textile Export Promotion Council of India (Texprocil) said Vietnamese firms should explore the 1.3 billion-strong market of India.
Statistics from Texprocil showed that in 2017, India was the world’s second largest exporter of cotton products, top cotton and jute producer and the second biggest fibre producer.
Indian businesses have shown increasing interest in Vietnam from which they can enter the Southeast Asian market.
Indian businesses have invested in 201 big projects in Vietnam with a total investment of about US$876 million, ranking 27th out of the 126 foreign countries and territories investing in Vietnam. But Indian General Consul K Srikar Reddy said that if counting India’s investment to Vietnam through a third country, the figure is US$1.4 billion.