Myanmar earned nearly US$400 million from garment sector exports in the past three months, according to the official figures of the Commerce Ministry.
This represents a $100 million increase over the same period last year.
Following the lifting of European and American economic sanctions, Myanmar’s garment industry is growing. Currently, Japan and European countries are placing the largest orders for garment shipments. Additionally, garment exports are also supplying South Korea, China and America.
Myanmar’s garment industry is focused on “cutting, making and packing,” which is a basic contract garment assembly system that allows international garment companies to reduce their labour costs. Myanmar labour leaders and policymakers are hoping to transition the domestic garment industry into a more value-added “free on board” system which puts international garment manufactures in charge of not only cutting and assembling garments but also of sourcing materials and shipping finished projects.
Myanmar’s cheap labour costs often attract foreign garment industry investment, but also exacerbate tensions between factory employers and their employees.
Garment exports recorded US$1.8 billion in FY2016-2017, according to the Commerce Ministry.
Natural gas and agricultural products each comprised 25 per cent of Myanmar’s exports. CMP garments accounted for 16 per cent of exports, minerals for eight per cent, fisheries for five per cent and forest, animal products and other products for 21 per cent. There are currently over 400 garment factories in Myanmar, with a labor force of more than 300,000 workers.