European Garment companies explore new business opportunities in Myanmar
From March 23rd – March 27th, the Confederation of the German Textile and Fashion Industry (t+m) in cooperation with GermanFashion and Gesamtmasche (the German Association for knit and body wear) and supported by the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Myanmar, organized the “Trade Mission to Myanmar”.
With the recent reinstatement of the GSP + trade preferences for imports to the EU, the surge of interest from European companies to invest in and trade with Myanmar is steadily rising. The objective of the “Trade Mission to Myanmar” was to provide European fashion producers, brands and retailers with a thorough overview of the Myanmar garment sector, while at the same time raising awareness for the need of sustainable development in the Myanmar garment industry with a view to avoid mistakes that have been made in neighbouring countries. The Trade Mission was embedded in the framework of the EU-funded project SMART Myanmar which actively supports 16 local factories to comply with social minimum standards in the production of garment “made in Myanmar” while at the same time fostering know-how transfer and the improvement of quality and productivity. Since 2013 t+m supports SMART Myanmar with technical assistance focussing on B2B, market access and corporate social responsibility. Amongst others, t+m has supported the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA) in drafting the industry’s first Code of Conduct launched earlier this year. The Code outlines a strong commitment of MGMA’s member companies to social compliance and has been very positively perceived by the international community and by international brands.
The Trade Mission’s delegation was composed of 17 European companies of textile and fashion industry, brands and retail representing a broad product range, amongst others ladies’ and men’s wear, outdoor, swim wear, lingerie, home- and lounge wear, sportswear, but also bed linen. Whilst German companies were most strongly represented, there were also companies from Denmark, the Netherlands, UK, Sweden and some multinationals. The 4-day program of the Mission focussed on individually organized factory visits. A kick-off sector briefing, a networking dinner at ANITA Asia Ltd. and the EU roundtable “Comply to Compete” on social compliance and actions for implementation of the MGMA Code of Conduct formed the framework program. This report will include the results of a subsequent survey amongst the participants.
CSR expert of t+m German Confederation of the German Textile and Fashion Industry