Blog: Leonie BarrieChinese exporters face Olympics visa hurdle

Leonie Barrie | 7 July 2008

China's beleaguered manufacturers have so far survived and absorbed energy costs, rising transport costs, high input and commodity costs, soaring freight costs, rising wage bills and new labour laws (not to mention tough Western companies looking for cheap, cheap prices). But they may not be able to overcome the actions of their country's own visa issuing department.

Restrictions ahead of the Olympic Games mean apparel retailers and importers cannot get visas for their factory inspectors and quality assurance (QA) staff to enter China - and are consequently scrambling to find alternative capacity in Vietnam and Bangladesh. And once they've gone, there is a burning fear they won't return.

Such concerns won't be eased by a robust set of apparel and footwear export figures in Vietnam last week. The country's footwear and apparel exports increased around 17% for the first half of the year, reaching US$2.3bn and US$4bn respectively.

These figures are still clearly overshadowed by the manufacturing powerhouse that is China, which exported $66.16bn of footwear and $40.09bn of garments in the first five months, but while it encounters the obstacles outlined above there will be some rather substantial pieces to pick up.

CHINA: Olympic visa policy slowing apparel supply


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