A recovery in shipments to the US, coupled with excellent export performance in other markets in recent months, mean that Vietnam's textile and apparel industry could hit its export earnings target of US$7.5bn in 2007.

The industry expects to pass crude oil to become the country's biggest earning sector from 2007.

The toughest challenge to the industry's growth is the threat of an anti-dumping levy imposed by the US, but the statistics since beginning of 2007 show a normal trend without any sign of dumping.

"The export figures from the beginning of the year show clearly that Vietnam has not been dumping, and there has been no action saying that the US government will kick off an anti-dumping lawsuit or continue the monitoring mechanism," Le Quoc An, chairman of Vitas said.

In the first half of this year, the US imported $2.04bn worth of textile and apparel products from Vietnam, up 34.9% from same period 2006 and accounting for 58.5% of Vietnam's total export turnover.

Since July, many US companies have been coming back and signing contracts for orders in the first quarter of next year, proving a positive trend in the market, just-style has learnt.

Local experts say that an important part of the recovery was an official visit by Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet to the US where he urged President Bush to ease the case.

According to figures from the Vietnamese General Statistics Department, in the first seven months of this year, Vietnam exported US$4.24bn worth of textile and apparel products, representing a 28.6% increase over the same period last year.

By Ngo Tuan.