Aussie wool producers eye Vietnamese suppliers

January 29, 2013 | 09:07
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Australia is looking to develop a sustainable supply chain for its wool industry in Vietnam.

Towards this, Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), the research, development and marketing organisation for the Australian wool industry, has been implementing a so-called Out of Vietnam project since last June.

The project not only aims to develop a sustainable supply chain in Viet nm, but also to expand its manufacturing sector.

With Australia currently sending about 80 percent of its wool to China and becoming increasingly reliant on this country, AWI sees the need to develop a new processing and manufacturing market for Australian wool, its General Manager for Product Development and Commercialisation, Jimmy Jackson, told the English-language daily Vietnam News.

"Vietnam comes out on top in comparison with other countries," Jackson said.

"Vietnam meets a host of essential criteria, including its low sovereign risk, its well-established textile manufacturing industry and infrastructure, a large, skilled workforce, its large and growing exports of textile products, its large trade access including a Free Trade Agreement with the US and an abundant supply of water,' he said.

After visits and meetings with potential partners, the key message that has emerged is that "the time is right for wool in Vietnam."

Jackson said the country offers an alternative to relying so heavily on China as the major buyer of Australian greasy wool.

"We have received a fantastic response to this project. Apart from the 30 partners we also have four new wool spinning plants looking to invest as well as about 20 knitters."

AWI owns the Woolmark Company, which is the world's leading wool textile organisation.

The Out of Vietnam project was launched in Hanoi on June 6 and its second phase commenced in HCM City on November 29 last year.

Ten industry partners including leading weaving companies have agreed to participate in product development trials commencing March 2013, Jackson said.

Nine leading spinning companies from Italy, Germany, China, Thailand and India participated in a Spinners Meeting held in Hanoi from December 10-12 last year, where they held one-on-one meetings with 16 companies from Hanoi and HCM City.

A healthy relationship had been established between AWI and Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) – the State-owned arm of the Vietnamese textile industry, Jackson said.

AWI also plans to host two fashion shows in Hanoi and HCM City as part of the celebrations of 40 years of diplomatic and trade relations between Vietnam and Australia, showcasing a collection of garments all made from Australian Merino wool.

The motto for the fashion shows is "Grown in Australia, Made in Vietnam," said Jackson.

He added that AWI would open a representative office in Hanoi between March and July this year.


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