Vietnam's textile and garment exports reached a record $17.1bn in 2012 - prompting an even higher target of $19.2bn for the year ahead.

Exports in 2012 were 8.5% higher than the year before, and ensure the sector remains the country's largest foreign currency earner, according to the Vietnam Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT).

Of this figure, the Vietnam National Textile and Apparel Group (Vinatex) accounts for $2.6bn, an increase of 16% on the previous year.

The US, the EU and Japan remained the three biggest export markets - with shipments to the US climbing 9.2% and Japan jumping by 19.3%.

During the year, local producers imported materials worth $8.8bn for textile and garment production.

For 2013, the industry is targeting exports of $19.2bn - including $8.5bn to the US, $2.4bn to the EU, $2.4bn to Japan, and $1.5bn to Korea.