Is the Vietnamese Garment Industry at a Turning Point?: Upgrading from the Export to the Domestic Market

Discussion Papers


by GOTO Kenta

December 2012


Vietnam’s garment industry has been loosely characterized by the duality based on market orientation: export and domestic. Export-oriented garment suppliers were typically SOEs and foreign invested firms, while those producing for the domestic market have been mostly small, private companies. With a booming economy, other industrial sectors have emerged, and the garment industry is no longer the sector most favored by workers. Wage rates have been increasing, and a supplier’s ability to cope with this through successful upgrading has been the key determinant of whether it can further grow and flourish. Those who fail to cope are finding themselves in an increasingly difficult position. This paper looks at both the export- and domestic-oriented garment suppliers, and attempts to highlight how the industry can further develop by examining the bottlenecks that vary depending on the type of supplier. It suggests that in the long run, upgrading and value addition in the domestic market will be the key strategy.

Keywords: Vietnam, garment, global value chains, upgrading
JEL classification: F63, L67, O14, O53

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