The Vietnamese textile and apparel industry spent US$250m in June on imported fibres, yarns and fabrics, an increase of 42.9% year-on-year according to the country's Ministry of Industry.

During the first half the year import revenues climbed to $1.12bn, up by 10.1% over the same period 2006.

In the second week of July the figure was over $80m, of which imports of cotton were up by 30%, yarns rose by 25% and fibres increased by 73%.

Although Vietnam is the world's tenth largest textile and apparel exporter, and textiles and clothing is the country's second biggest currency earner, it still relies heavily on imported materials from China, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong and Japan.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Industry is currently targeting the textile and apparel industry to produce 1.5bn metres of fabric and other materials through an investment of $1.7bn by 2015.

"Relying heavily on imported materials is an uncomfortable issue for not only the textile and apparel industry but also the government and authorities," said Le Quoc An, chairman of Vinatex, the state-owned Vietnam National Textile And Apparel Group.

"To overcome this, we have been setting up and implementing several key programmes until 2010."

To help meet this goal, Vinatex is constructing three fabric production centres in Hanoi, Dang Nang and Ho Chi Minh city with a target of providing the group with 50% of its total material requirements by 2010.

By Ngo Tuan.