The Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) has inaugurated a new US$5.7m garment factory, located in the central province of Ngh? An.

The Vinatex Hoàng Mai factory, which spans 32,000sq m, will produce around 11m tonnes of high quality knitted garments, and men's and women's underwear, across 24 production lines in its first phase – mainly producing exports bound for the Japanese market. 

The new facility will provide around 900 local jobs, with the investment aimed at promoting the development of commercial services, infrastructure, and helping to raise revenue for the province, contributing to social security and sustainable poverty reduction.

State-owned Vinatex is the country's largest textiles and apparel group, and expects export turnover to increase by around 10% this year to $2.6bn, according to local reports. The group reported an export value of $2.37bn last year. In order to meet its growth target, the group is focusing on supporting its subsidiaries to expand their export markets, general director Lê Tin Trung told local reporters. 

Vietnam's apparel exports exceeded $27bn in 2015, surpassing a target of $20bn set for 2020, and are expected to hit $31bn this year. The garment industry is urging the government to create a development strategy to 2025, with a vision towards 2040, in order to help firms take advantage of opportunities and overcome challenges brought by free trade agreements.

Vietnam is likely to see some of the biggest apparel export gains from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), as well as a recently concluded free trade agreement with the EU.

Vietnam garment industry calls for "strategy update"

In August, labour groups and businesses agreed on a 7.3% increase in the national minimum wage – just a week after proposing a freeze on salaries for the country's garment workers. But the rise is the smallest rise since a minimum wage system was first introduced in 1997.

Vietnam minimum wage to rise 7.3% in 2017