Recently, the leader of a large garment company in Vietnam has shared that they had just received an order for 400 million medical masks worth USD 52 million. This information is really good news for Vietnam textile industry as this billion-dollar industry of Vietnam has been under tremendous pressure from COVID-19 pandemic.
The industry has faced a "double shock". In February 2020, when the epidemic broke out in China, Vietnamese textile enterprises had to face a disruption in supply of raw materials from this country.
In March, when the supply resumed, there came an outbreak in Europe and the United States, which made the markets almost frozen, and customers from these countries had to delay, postpone or cancel their orders. In a recent report to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Industry and Trade forecast that the textile and garment industry would be seriously affected.
It is estimated that the number of orders will decrease by about 70% in April and May, and the industry will recover slowly until the end of the year. However, given opportunities in the pandemic, a number of Vietnamese textile and apparel enterprises have managed to find ways to export masks, the item that is extremely necessary in many countries at this time.
"Masks have become a solution for textile enterprises to maintain production, retain workers and earn income to reduce the damage caused by the suspension of orders." said Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Demand is high while masks are a product that does not require much investment. Basically, every textile workshop with existing equipment and workers can produce masks. Therefore, the ability to produce masks of Vietnamese businesses is very large, after meeting all domestic needs, it is completely possible to export.
According to information compiled by the Department of Industry, the mask production capacity of 50 enterprises reporting to the Ministry of Industry and Trade has reached 8 million pieces / day, which is about 200 million pieces per month. On a national scale, the figure would be much greater.
The representative of this agency said that materials for producing masks are not too complicated. Previously, businesses had to import antibacterial fabric or chemicals to produce antibacterial fabric. However, currently, some businesses, such as Nam Dinh Silk Textile Joint Stock Company, have been able to produce antibacterial fabric entirely from domestic bio-materials. Therefore, if there is high demand, the current mask production capacity could be further improved.
In addition to medical masks, cloth masks can also be exported. According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, cloth masks are a simple product. Since the demand for cloth masks increased, businesses have invested in the design and materials to improve this product.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade said that the basic cloth mask is a two-layer mask, of which one is an antibacterial fabric. Many businesses have even produced 3-layer and 4-layer masks. In addition to the antibacterial layer, there may be an additional layer of water-proof and anti-splash cloth.
The leader of the Import-Export Department (Ministry of Industry and Trade) affirmed that Vietnam has enough capacity to become a major cloth face mask exporter. However, he emphasized that trade promotion should be paid attention to as many foreign customers do not know about Vietnam's ability to produce cloth masks.
“When the epidemic broke out, masks became an essential commodity. However, when the epidemic is over, the demand for masks will also decrease. Therefore, this is a seasonal product with low stability.
That is why textile enterprises can take advantage and exploit markets at this time, yet they should also be cautious, not considering this as a long-term product with large-scale investment.
There have been just a few businesses receiving long-term orders for masks." the representative of the Import-Export Department said. In addition, enterprises exporting cloth masks also need to be aware that the markets of developed countries often ask for high requirements on quality and safety for users.
Therefore, businesses need to learn about standards, and apply for the appropriate certificates to facilitate export activities. According to some textile enterprise, the Government currently only allows 75% of medical masks to be used domestically while the remaining 25% must be designated and contracted.
This will cause difficulties to businesses in the production and trade of masks. In this regard, the representative of the Ministry of Industry and Trade said that, according to the provisions of the Government's Resolution No. 20 / NQ-CP of February 28, 2020, medical masks may only be exported in cases of international aid or support permitted by the Vietnamese Government.
And if it is licensed, only a maximum of 25% of the enterprise's output can be exported. The above regulations are made to give the highest priority to the prevention and control of the epidemic in the country, ensuring sufficient equipment for doctors, nurses and other medical staff.
Currently, the evolution of Covid-19 has not been fully predicted, so we still have to be aware of the possibility of an outbreak, and an increase in the number of infections. Under the direction of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Health is buying medical masks for long-term prevention and control, so strict management of medical masks is needed.
In the event that Vietnam and other countries can control the Covid-19 epidemic, and domestic supply and storage of this item can meet demands, ministries and agencies can coordinate to consider and propose measures to create conditions for enterprises to export medical masks.
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