Myanmar’s Textile Industry Has A Positive Growth Outlook

A business information company, Textiles Intelligence, through its recently released report on Global Apparel Markets, forecasts that Myanmar, which was once subjected to 50 years of military rule, is gathering the requisite pace to grow significantly in the coming years, including the clothing industry.

On the similar lines, the Myanmarese government has also published a strategy for the textile and garment industry as part of a document, titled National Export Strategy 2015-2019. The report pushed the industry to move from operating on a cutting, making and packaging (CMP) basis to operating on an FOB (free-on-board) basis; increase volume; improve quality; produce a greater volume of knitted products. On a wider scale the government aims to build its export markets.

Forecasters have predicted that there could be up to 1.5 million jobs in the garment industry by 2020, compared to approximately 230,000 in mid-2015, and that garment exports could rise from US$1.5 million in 2014 to as much as US$12 billion in 2020. Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the garment industry has been growing at an impressive pace in recent years and, following the removal of sanctions, clothing exports from Myanmar shot up by 26.5 per cent in 2013, and by a further 27.4 per cent in 2014.

Myanmar’s garment industry saw a turning point in 2011, when Thein Sein was sworn in as the leader of a military-civilian government and would-be investors and garment sourcing companies based in the West started to turn their attention to Myanmar. This compelled leading retailers to source garments from Myanmar. Like H&M in 2013 was the first western brand to have started garmenting business with Myanmar, followed by GAP in 2014.

However, there are a slew of measures that needs to be taken for further growth, like the industry will need modern machinery, raw materials, skilled labour, social and environmental certification, energy sources that are reliable, a logistics infrastructure and a financing system which runs smoothly.