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Industry Overview: Thailand Textile and Apparel Industry

Thailand possesses a fully integrated Textile and Apparel Industry, and is one of the few countries globally with capabilities to supply the entire textile industry chain from natural and man-made fiber and yarn manufacturing through weaving, knitting, dyeing, printing and finishing; to textile and apparel design, production and sales. Thailand also is a well-known silk producer; and produces both organic and inorganic cotton on a small scale. 

According to the Thailand Textile Institute's (THTI's) 2010-2011 Thai Textile Statistics, the textile subsector accounted for nearly 3.4% of the country's total GDP in 2009. The Department of Industrial Works, Ministry of Industry, reports that, Thailand's textile subsector comprised nearly 2,388 apparel mills, 695 knitting mills, 595 weaving mills, 389 dyeing and printing mills, 150 spinning mills and 16 man-made-fiber mills.
According to Ms. Pongpun Gearaviriyapun, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Foreign Trade, the overall export value of textile and apparel expanded at over US$ 8.25 billion with 7.55% growth. The main export items are ready-to-wear garments and finished fabric. Exports to Japan and China have showed growth with Japan 36.62% and China 17.73%. Imports in 2011 also expanded at 22.35% at nearly US$4.90 billion. The main sources of imports were China, US with the growth at 16.33% and 75.66% respectively.  The main import products were yarn and cotton fiber.
For Thailand, its ASEAN neighbors have become the high growth market for trade.  In 2011, the textile and apparel trade in Thailand expanded at 15.34% with the export value of US$1.55 billion showing a 13.55% growth.  The market with the largest growth was Myanmar, growing at 30.8%. The other impressive market was Vietnam with 29.6% growth.  The main products into the ASEAN market is finished fabrics. As for imports from ASEAN, US$471 million was imported with 21.48% growth.  The countries with the largest share were Cambodia at over 163% growth and Vietnam at 32.5% growth.
THTI statistics indicate that in 2010, Thailand's textile and apparel industry produced 918,400 tons of fiber, of which 917,600 tons were man-made fiber and 800 tons were cotton fiber; 977,200 tons of yarn, of which 626,100 tons were man-made fiber yarn and 351,100 tons were cotton yarn; 746,400 tons of fabric, of which 483,300 tons were woven fabric including 197,900 tons of cotton fabric and 285,400 tons of man-made fabric, and 263,100 tons were knitted fabric; and 499,900 tons of apparel, of which 300,000 tons were made from woven fabric and 199,800 tons were made from knitted fabric.
The success of Thailand's textile and apparel industry in the future will primarily depend on modernization and change. The government remains committed to supporting the industry, taking measures such as borrowing from the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank to finance industrial upgrades; and establishing THTI as a non-profit organization to support the textile industry. THTI is focused on enhancing the industry's competitiveness in the global market by upgrading existing machinery and technology, increasing research and development, and better educating the workforce. The organization reportedly has launched a US$9.7 million textile and apparel development plan for 2012-2016 to help the industry prepare for implementation of the AEC in 2015 and become more globally competitive. The initiative focuses on increasing the textile and apparel industry's production capacity and promoting Thailand as a regional fashion center. 
Among the ASEAN countries, Thailand still has a competitive edge due to the product quality and the market acceptance. With the move toward AEC as a single market with no import duty on raw materials among ASEAN countries and free flowing of goods, Experts predicts that the country may increase its competitive edge even further.
(Source: Insight Alpha)

Thailand Textile Institute's (THTI's)