Myanmar’s garment export earnings increase mainly because of a rise in exports to Japan and European Union. The earnings increased to $940 million in the year to mid-October up from $409 million in the corresponding period last year.Japan accounted for about a third of the country’s garment exports; EU and South Korea were 25 per cent each; and the United States and China accounted for 2.4 per cent each.
Exports to the EU increased from €345 million in 2013 to €548 million in 2015. The garment industry in Myanmar employs more than 3, 00,000 workers in 389 factories; of which 171 are Myanmar-owned, 196 foreign-owned and the rest are joint ventures.
Myanmar’s garment sector is flourishing as the last low-cost production frontier for factory relocation and diversification in Southeast Asia. China has long been the world’s top garment exporter. In recent years, however, production costs in China have soared along with a surge in wages. This, together with the difficulty in hiring garment workers and shift towards higher value-added industries, has driven many garment manufacturers to relocate to Myanmar.