Vietnamese Textile and Garment Industry in the Global Supply Chain: State Strategies and Workers’ Responses

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Angie Ngọc Trần


This paper examines the development of textile and garment manufacturing in the context of the prevailing arguments on pursuing marketoriented liberalisation and state directed domestic linkages, and the impacts of these developments on unions and workers in Vietnam. Despite rapid growth in exports and employment, the empirical evidence shows that market-oriented integration in the global economy has limited frms’ operations to low valueadded activities and workers to toil for non-livable wages. The global supply chain has also exposed frms and consigned workers to the vicissitudes of volatile fluctuations in demand causing retrenchments, substandard working conditions and a vicious circle of underdevelopment and poverty. Albeit limited the state-controlled Vinatex has managed to promote domestic linkages in Vietnam, suggesting that the industry can actually be restructured to absorb higher value-added activities. A shift to upgrading activities, including learning and skills training, is essential to support improvements in wages and working conditions.


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