““I am encouraging Turkish garment and textile companies to invest in Vietnam as it has a lot of advantages in terms of labour and favourable policies for foreign investors,” Arslan said .At the third session of the Vietnam-Turkey Joint Economic Commission in Hanoi last week, a Turkish garment and textile delegation met with its Vietnamese counterparts and was optimistic about investment opportunities in the emerging Southeast Asian market .In 2005, the Vietnamese garment and textile industry achieved an export turnover of $5bn, which is expected to reach $5.5bn this year. Turkey’s clothing and textile exports reached $19bn last year, with a production output of $34bn .Ibrahim Ozsoy, Oasis Garment managing director which in 2001 became the first Turkish textile business to be established in Vietnam, believes there is great potential for cooperation between Vietnam and Turkey in the garment and textile sector. Ozsoy said he plans to expand the business after Vietnam’s accession to the WTO .Malkan Makina representative Multu Malkan said the company, one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of ironing and finishing equipment, is considering establishing a factory in Vietnam to pre-empt the expected demand of the garment and textile industry. .According to Vinatex’s export officer Nguyen Thanh Tung the challenges and opportunities facing Vietnam’s textile and garment industry following WTO accession should balance out. Apart from an exemption on export quotas, competition should grow fiercer as new foreign investment projects in the local textile and garment industry could claim half of the total export turnover of the industry . “Projections suggest the equitisation of fully state owned textile-garment companies will be completed in 2007. By then, the number of competing private firms is expected to rise beyond 1,500, of which up to 500 will be foreign-invested .However, analysis shows that the Vietnamese textile and garment industry will face many barriers to sustainable development. Due to a lack of marketable brand names and design capability, almost every company in the local industry has been working as a sub-contractor for foreign producers (accounting for 70 to 80 per cent of total export revenue). .Beside this, underdevelopment of supporting industries forces companies to import all machinery and 80 per cent of input materials. As a consequence, the average consignment delivery time from Vietnamese companies is 80 to 90 days while it is just 40 to 60 days from Turkish companies .According to Eskiyurt Serkan, chief representative of Bilkont-Sahinler Group, the fourth-largest producer in Europe, Vietnam’s garment and textile industry could miss cooperative opportunities with international companies available after Vietnam’s accession to WTO if its supporting industries cannot meet investor demands .“The Vietnamese workforce is experienced, hard-working and creative compared to regional countries. But, an 80 to 90 day consignment delivery time is too long for an industry as volatile as garments and fashion,” Serkan said .Source: Vietnam Investment Review .