HCMC – Thai original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have expressed their attention to invest in neighboring ASEAN countries with cheap labor, including Vietnam.

Yotsaton Kijkusol, vice chairman of the Thai Garment Manufacturers Association (TGMA), told the Daily that Thai apparel firms are looking for foreign markets with cheap labor to reduce production cost due to increasing wages in their country. Currently, the average salary of a Thai worker is 300 bath a day, or US$10, he added.

Thailand’s export turnover from garments reached US$2.8 billion last year and the figure is projected to be lower in the future since Thai enterprises are  shifting their production to other ASEAN countries where they can slash labor cost.

However, the vice chairman of TGMA said many Thai apparel firms have still maintained their domestic operations and tried to become original design manufacturers (ODMs) and original brand manufacturers (OBMs) so as to add value to their goods.

The ASEAN region will become a single market and a general production area thanks to the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) next year. The ten member countries will create an attractive manufacturing area for many customers from the European Union (EU) and the United States, Yotsaton said.

The vice chairman and representatives of the Thai Footwear Association and the Association of Thai Textile Bleaching Dyeing Printing and Finishing Industries attended a conference in HCMC last week to call for Vietnamese companies to join the Bangkok International Fashion Fair and Bangkok International Leather Fair (BIF&BIL) 2015.

The 33rd event is scheduled to take place in Bangkok between March 11 and 15. Vietnamese participants will have the opportunity to enjoy a 50% discount on booth rent as the country is a member of the ASEAN Federation of Textile Industries (AFTEX).

Updates of the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) showed that Thailand ranked tenth in terms of investment with 371 valid projects worth US$6.65 billion as of November 22.

Link: http://english.thesaigontimes.vn/38293/Thai-OEMs-keen-on-Vietnam-market.html