Having entered the world's top ten garment exporters, the Vietnamese textile industry is now facing mounting labour issues, warned Le Quoc An, chairman of Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association.

An said that that Vietnam would surrender its competitive edge if labour costs continue to rise.

"At present, the labour cost in Vietnam is US$0.3-0.6 per hour and that is similar to other surrounding countries and competitors like China, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Cambodia etc. But we have been facing an annual 15% increasing in labour cost," An said.

Additionally, Vietnam's textile and apparel industry has been subjected to more and more strikes at both domestic- and foreign-owned plants, notably last week at Nike footwear supplier Tae Kwang Vina.

Vietnam's textile and apparel exports are forecast to reach $9.5bn for 2008, up by 21.8%. However, such targets will be challenged by sharp growth of China, Bangladesh, India and Cambodia, added An.

By Ngo Tuan.