Footwear industry strives for new standards

(VEN) - Sustainable development solutions are an extremely important condition to meet increasingly high standards from Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) agreement. General Secretary of the Vietnam Leather - Footwear and Handbag Association (LEFASO) Phan Thi Thanh Xuan talked with Industry and Trade Newspapers’ Bao Thoa about this issue.
Footwear industry strives for new standards
General Secretary of the LEFASO Phan Thi Thanh Xuan

Footwear is one of Vietnam’s key exports to the CPTPP market. What is your opinion of the opportunities that this market brings to Vietnamese leather and footwear export products?

CPTPP is one of the very important agreements for the leather and footwear industry. When the agreement was implemented, export growth to this market was rapid at over 20 percent. CPTPP countries currently account for 12 percent of Vietnam’s export turnover, a market that brings many great benefits.

Notably, thanks to the implementation of this agreement, the shift of the supply chain of raw materials and accessories has entered Vietnam, contributing to the growth of the localization rate of products.

Previously, the localization rate was only about 45 percent, but now it has risen to 55 percent and still keeps increasing, said Xuan.

Currently, many countries in the CPTPP bloc have been setting higher sustainability standards. What are the solutions of Vietnamese leather and footwear enterprises?

To meet these sustainability standards, businesses must meet many requirements concerning waste, laborers’ working conditions, environment, and more.

Therefore, the first solution is digital transformation. They also need the support of State agencies in adopting policies on innovation or training high quality human resources.

Nowadays, people have talked much about 5.0 technology, which is digital ecosystem. From 2030 onwards, these applications will become increasingly popular and in accordance with Vietnam's international commitments at COP26. Therefore, businesses are required to implement transformation to keep up with the trend.

What roadmaps have leather and footwear enterprises created to meet the requirements from CPTPP partners in the coming time?

Export enterprises have always complied with the regulations and requirements of customers. This is a great motivation to reform production, and is also an important step to prepare for sustainable development of the enterprises.

In the future, when market requirements are more demanding, businesses need to focus on applying digital transformation to production to save costs and improve production efficiency.

The businesses also need to seek for raw material and accessories supplies that meet the standards of customers. This is a basic solution that footwear businesses have been implementing recently.

From the perspective of LEFASO, what are the proposals you would make to support businesses during the transition process to sustainable development?

Sustainable development is one of the long-term tasks not only for five or 10 years, and requires comprehensive and consistent solutions.

At the end of 2022, the Prime Minister signed a decision approving the strategy for the development of the textile, garment and footwear industry. One content of the strategy is to build a sustainable development program for the industry. Therefore, I think we need to develop a specific action program which includes international market requirements for our businesses. It is a basic overall solution to help the textile, garment, and footwear industry go faster and further.

Bao Thoa

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