Vietnam's textile and garment exports soared 36 per cent this year due to surging US orders, the president of the Vietnam Textile and Garment Corporation (Vinatex) said Friday without giving an exact figure.

Le Quoc An said textile and clothing shipments to the US rocketed to $900 million this year from $47m in 2001 as Vietnam firms reaped the rewards of a Bilateral Trade Agreement between the two countries.

Although no final total was given today, Vinatex said late last month that exports had surged past last year’s total of $2.4 billion and were on course to hit the $2.6bn mark by the end of this year.

"The quota-free status has also attracted a large number of American buyers to Vietnam," An said. "However, over the next few years, Vietnamese enterprises will have to take measures to maintain exports to the US while simultaneously recouping markets where we have lost share."

He added textile and garment exports to the EU and Japan fell by 10 and 20 per cent, respectively, amid fierce competition from rival producers in China.