Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association revealed that in April and May 80 per cent of the companies in the industry laid off employees because of a significant decrease in the production of textiles and apparel. Another study by the Ministry of Industry and Trade notes that in the first half of the year, textile production in the country was just 2.8 percent higher than in the same time frame last year compared with 11.5 percent. The industry was also struggling to procure raw materials and quickly losing export orders to the pandemic, with the production of garments decreased by 4.7%.
The export orders were either delayed or canceled. Orders were canceled or delayed up to 50 percent in May and global prices decreased by 20 percent as a consequence of a decline in demand. In order to adapt to that demand globally, most firms changed their focus from clothing to masks. During the first six months, Vietnam exported 557,000,000 masks, with key markets in the USA, Germany, Singapore and South Korea.
The loss of clothing orders will however not make up for the mask exports, as clothing exports are expected to decline by 23 percent this year to $30 billion.