Monday, 20 January 2020

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Clothing industry picks up in Burma

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) –During the past six months, the number of clothing factories in Burma has increased from about 120 factories to more than 200, according to Burma’s Clothing Manufacturers’ Association.

As a result of the global economic crisis, only about 120 clothing factories in Burma were operating in 2009, but since June 2010, the growing demand for clothing has caused many factories to reopen and also attracted investors to create more factories.

Before mid-2009, there were 171 clothing factories in Burma.

“Because of the worldwide economic recession in 2008, many clothing factories in Burma closed down. But, since June, most of them can operate again. Many new clothing factories have been set up”, Myint Soe told Mizzima. 

Burma has received clothing export orders from International clothing giants in South Korea, Japan and Latin American countries.

Moreover, after heightened tension in the Korean peninsula, South Korea stopped the import of clothing from North Korea and has sought out more clothing from Burma.

Before 2003, Burma could export clothing to the United States, but it can not sell clothing to the US now because of its economic sanctions.

China, one of the leading exporters for clothing, has shifted some of its focus to the electronics and automotive industries, giving Burma a better chance in the clothing market, Myint Soe said.

Because the clothing industry is thriving, Burmese employees in the clothing factories number about 80,000. Many are now earning better salaries, according to officials and workers at the factories. Average salaries have increased from about 60,000 kyat (about US $60) to 80,000 kyat (about US $80). Most clothing workers in Burma come from rural areas.

A worker from the Ever November Industry Company Limited in the Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone said, “Our company has received bulk orders for clothing. Our incomes depend on our productivity. So, if my work is fairly productive, I can earn up to 80,000 kyat per a month”.

The chairman of Burma’s Clothing Manufacturers’ Association, Myint Soe, said Burma earns about US $50 million from the clothing industry annually.  

Observers have noted that the Western economic sanctions against Burma have compounded the problem, leading the sanctions to become an even more controversial issue.


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