A manager examines a face mask produced in a factory in southern Long An Province. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Vietnamese garment companies have signed deals to export hundreds of millions of face masks to the U.S. and the E.U.
Hanoi-based Garment 10 Jsc (Garco 10) recently received orders for 400 million medical masks and 20 million cloth masks from buyers in the U.S. and Germany.
TNG Investment and Trading Jsc in the northern Thai Nguyen Province has been exporting cloth masks to France,Belgium and Germany for almost a month.
Its Chairman Nguyen Van Thoi said the U.S. market is wide open for masks. The company is now working on administrative procedures to gift 500 cloth masks to the New York Police Department.
It is also planning to produce medical masks from mid-May since there is huge demand for them, he said.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has allowed the lifting of a cap on medical mask exports, protective garments and medical equipment.
He has emphasized that such items can be shipped to countries severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Garco 10 CEO Than Duc Viet said mask exports account for almost 30 percent of the company’s revenues this year.
TNG also saw domestic sales rise 10 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, mostly from masks.
The Foreign Trade Agency said in a recent release that Vietnam has the potential to become a major global mask exporter.
It can make at least 200 million masks a month, and some producers have been able to make their own raw materials to reduce dependence on imports.
But the agency said face masks are only a temporary solution since demand would taper off as soon as the disease is contained.
Producers said they have to cap medical mask exports at 25 percent of production to comply with the government’s orders to ensure domestic demand is fully met.
There are around 6,800 textile businesses in Vietnam. Last year they exported goods worth $32.85 billion, up 7.8 percent year-on-year, with the U.S., the E.U. and Japan being the largest buyers.