Burma is benefiting from new garment export orders from Europe

Burma is benefiting from new garment export orders from Europe

The restoration of the European Union's GSP (Generalised System of Preferences) trading privileges helped Burma/Myanmar earn more than US$1.1bn from garment exports in 2013, just-style has been told.

The GSP benefits were reinstated last July 19 (2013) following political reforms that began in 2011, ending more than half a century of military rule.

"We're seeing a lot of new orders coming in from Europe - from Germany and the UK in particular," Dr U Aung Win, vice-chairman of the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association, said.

"Large quantities are also being ordered from the US. I do believe it's realistic that [the clothing and textile sector in] Myanmar will earn US$1.5bn in 2014," he added, echoing an earlier statement by the association's chairman, Myint Soe.

That said, Dr Aung Win noted that South Korea and Japan continue to dominate Myanmar garment export sales for the time being, accounting for a combined 70% of all orders.

And he stressed that Myanmar must address current labour shortages to meet demands for its cut, make and pack (CMP) products.

"It's not only skilled workers we lack, but unskilled ones also. Thirty percent of staff at any given factory are 'helpers' [who carry out basic tasks].

"However there seems to be a new trend of young males opting to work at construction sites instead, because they can earn higher amounts doing more labour intensive work - about MMK5,000 [US$5.18] a day."