The conference took place November 10 in Ho Chi Minh City and attracted the participation of representatives from Ministry of Trade, The US Chamber of Commerce and Trade, The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Trade, a number of major footwear brands such as Nike, Adidas, etc…, and senior management of over 200 enterprises producing shoes and materials in Vietnam for export.

The conference focused on introducing the advantages, disadvantages and solutions with opinion from the organisations, and international brands. Problems associated with materials and labour force were highlighted.

LEFASO also invited exporters to Vietnam to take part and learn more about Vietnam’s leather, footwear and leather goods enterprises.

Nearly 600 businesses employ more than 1.1 million workers in direct and supporting sectors to produce 800 million pairs of shoes a year.
Lefaso’s Vice Chairman Diep Thanh Kiet said Vietnam’s industry will have to develop a better material base as well as business skills to capitalize on the opportunities presented by the TPP. Kiet said the local industry doesn’t yet produce basic materials like leather, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyurethane (PU) and cloth.
Vietnamese firms are also behind in marketing and product development skills, he said.

To underline Vietnam’s growing importance as a manufacturing destination the American footwear maker, Wolverine has decided to move a substantial part of its production from China to Vietnam due to the imminent coming into force of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement that will reduce tariffs on imports to near zero.

Currently, Chinese production accounts for 75% of Wolverine’s production, however, it aims to cut its China based production to one-third of the total by 2020 and invest further in Vietnam, which currently supplies 14.5% of the company’s product. Wages in Vietnam are 38% lower than those in China, even though labourers are regarded as skilled as Chinese workers.