Vietnam's garment and textile exports soared 14 per cent year-on-year to $1.56 billion in the first eight months of 2002, trade chiefs revealed on Thursday.

Officials from the Ministry of Trade said the industry reaped $450 million from orders to the EU, $420m from the US, $310m from Japan and $145m from Taiwan.

They added the sector is on course to hit its full-year export target of $2.4bn which give it a record 19 per cent jump in annual turnover. This year's figures have been boosted by a surge in US orders as result of a trade agreement.

But officials warned more firms need to obtain social accountability accreditation covering labour rights and issues such as health and safety in the workplace if they want to win more US and EU orders.