2011 was not a good year for the textile and apparel industries in Thailand. Problems the industry had to face ranged from the sky-rocket priced of cotton at the beginning of the year to industry interruption by the big flood toward the end of the year. But all in all, this remarkable sector still held its ground both in the main market as well as the new market. Despite the obstacles, the Thai textile and apparel sector still recorded a double-digit growth.
According to Ms. Pongpun Gearaviriyapun, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Foreign Trade, the overall trade value of textile and apparel expanded at 12.62- with the export value at over US$ 8.25 billion, or 7.55% growth.
The main export items are ready-to-wear garments and finished fabric. Exports to the US market, however, shrank by 7.79%, while other markets showed growth: Janpan 36.62%, China 17.73%.
Imports in 2011 also expanded at 22.35% at nearly US$4.90 billion. The main sources of imports were China, US with the growth at 16.33% and 75.66% respectively. The main import products were yarn and cotton fiber.
The high growth market has become the ASEAN neighbors. In 2011, the textile and apparel trade expanded at 15.34% with the export value of US$1.55 billion showing a 13.55% growth. The market with the largest growth was Myanmar, growing at 30.8%. The other impressive market was Vietnam with 29.6% growth. The main products into the ASEAN market is finished fabrics.
As for imports from ASEAN, US$471 million was imported with 21.48% growth. The countries with the largest share were Cambodia at over 163% growth and Vietnam at 32.5% growth.
Among the ASEAN countries, Thailand still have a competitive edge due to the product quality and the market acceptance. With the move toward AEC as a single market with no import duty on raw materials among ASEAN countries and free flowing of goods, Thailand should increase its competitive edge even further.”, says Pongpun Gearaviriyapun.
Source: InterTrade Review, No. 593, Vol. 25, April 2012.