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Beyond the Bale : September 2012
And, according to AWI General Manager for Product Development and Commercialisation, Jimmy Jackson, Vietnam ticked all the right boxes. "We conducted extensive studies into alternative countries, but Vietnam came out number one," Mr Jackson said. "Vietnam meets a host of essential criteria, including: its low sovereign risk; it has a large, well-established textile manufacturing industry and infrastructure; a large, skilled workforce; it is already a large and growing exporter of textile products; it has large trade access including a Free Trade Agreement with the USA; and an abundant supply of water." The Out of Vietnam project will initially focus on the knitting sector with plans to move to wovens at a later date. AWI has already made contact with more than 30 organisations, and after numerous visits to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City one key message continued to emerge: The time is right for wool. "We have received a fantastic response to this project," Mr Jackson said. "Apart from the 30 partners we also have four new wool spinning plants looking to invest as well as about 20 knitters." CEO of CANIFA -- one of Vietnam's leading apparel retailers and knitwear manufacturers -- Ms Doan Thi Ngoc is a firm believer there is a bright future in developing a sustainable supply chain for Australian Merino wool in Vietnam. "It is the right time for wool in the Vietnamese knitting Industry," Ms Ngoc said. "For years we have produced knitwear from either acrylic or cotton, but we need to produce more premium added value 18 OFF-FARM September 2012 BEYOND THE BALE FAST FACTS l AWI is looking to develop a sustainable supply chain for Australian wool in Vietnam. l After visits and meeting with potential partners, the key message to emerge is that "the time is right for wool" in Vietnam. l Vietnam offers an alternative to relying so heavily upon China as the major buyer of Australian greasy wool. Anew manufacturing market is emerging which promises big things for the promotion of Australian Merino wool. AWI's 'Out of Vietnam' project aims to develop a sustainable supply chain in Vietnam and expand its current manufacturing sector. With Australia currently sending about 80 per cent of its wool to China and becoming increasingly reliant on this country, AWI saw the need to develop a new processing and manufacturing market for Australian wool. products, and Australian wool without doubt, is the first choice. "With the support and assistance of The Woolmark Company's technical expertise we are confident that we can produce wool knitwear to international standards in terms of design and quality." Vietnam has a low-cost, high-skilled workforce and is not afraid to invest in modern machines. And with superb experience working with cotton and man- made fibres the future for setting up a wool manufacturing industry looks promising. It is the world's second largest exporter to the USA and the third largest to Japan. It is also a top destination for Korean companies for investment in textiles. Already, a healthy relationship has been established between AWI and Vinatex -- the government arm of the Vietnamese textile industry. "Because of this established relationship, AWI is honoured to have been invited to participate in next year's 40th anniversary celebrations for diplomatic and trade relations between Vietnam and Australia," Mr Jackson said. "We are also planning to host to two fashion shows held as part of the celebrations, one in Hanoi and one in Ho Chi Minh City, showcasing a collection of garments all made from Australian Merino wool and illustrating the motto 'Grown in Australia, Made in Vietnam'." Good morning Vietnam AWI General Manager for Product Development and Commercialisation Jimmy Jackson showing Australian Merino woollen fabrics to prospective partners in Vietnam.