Vietnam's fledgling wool manufacturing industry is all set to buy greasy wool from the Australian Wool Innovation (AWI). The organisation identified Vietnam, one of the fastest-growing exporters of textile products, to set up a supply chain, three years ago. Jimmy Jackson, AWI general manager of product development and commercialisation says the aim was to create new business opportunities in different geographical areas, and reduce Australia's heavy reliance on China.
Jackson said Vietnam was politically stable, had skilled textile workers although they were using synthetics rather than wool, pending free trade agreements, which now are signed with Japan, Korea, the European Union, the European Union Satellite Countries, and was close to signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The country also hss low labour costs, almost one-third of China.
The spin-off from AWI's presence in Vietnam is a new market for Australian Merino garments. Jackson said that they called the campaign ‘Out of Vietnam’ because they thought it was a manufacturing base and it would all be exported. He added that they didn’t expect wool to be used in a country there the temperature is often 42C degrees in the shade. However, he added that in North Vietnam, a couple of months around Christmas and Tet (Vietnamese new year), the temperature drops quite significantly.