The country’s garment manufacturing industry, with the aim of penetrating western markets, is working towards establishing a global brand identity “Made in Myanmar,” said Daw Khaing Khaing Nwe, secretary of the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA).
However, it will take some time due to limited access to materials, financing and technology, she said.
“Although some clothes are currently being shipped with “Made in Myanmar” labels, production using only domestic materials is not easy. In the future, if the quality requirements of the market can be met, our aspirations can be achieved,” she said.
Domestic garment manufacturers usually earn revenue by fulfilling orders from local and foreign businesses and by charging service fees, while exports generally flow towards East Asian markets.
“East Asian markets have been a major destination, but after Myanmar was included in the European GSP (Generalised System of Preferences), we have received investment and orders from western countries. We will try to create and promote a unified Myanmar brand,” said U Myint Soe, chair of MGMA.
More than 20 countries, including Japan, China, Malaysia and Germany, are investing in Myanmar’s garment industry, with much of the export market focused on Japan.
Japanese External Trade Organization (JETRO) has supported the local garment industry by bringing together industry players from the two countries through meetings where they can network and share experiences.
Currently, local garment producers mostly deliver orders that request small quantities of apparel with specific designs, while some garment facilities have halted operations due to labour issues such as strikes and demands for higher wages.