International Spotlight: and Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association commit to sustainable garment industry growth

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December 5, 2018 has been involved in many overseas training initiatives. Through our overseas arm - International - we have trained students in countries with flourishing textile & fashion sectors, such as Cambodia, Bangladesh, China, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

We continue our commitment to this day, and we are excited to announce a big next step in our collaborations in Myanmar!

This November 29th, International and the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA) signed a memorandum of understanding, facilitated by the Netherlands Centre for the Promotion of Imports (CBI). The MOU is an official agreement between International and MGMA to nurture the garment manufacturing industry in Myanmar together., MGMA, and CBI sign an MOU

Myanmar already has one of the fastest growing garment manufacturing industries in the region. Apparel exports from Myanmar grew from US$853 million in 2012 to US$2.4 billion in 2017.

That’s a 185% increase. The industry nearly tripled in just five years! 

Total Apparel Exports from Myanmar (2012-2017)
Data source: International Trade Centre (from Emerging Textiles)

With nearly 500 members, MGMA provides its membership training, business opportunities, and worker support services to support this growth. They also co-organise the year-end Myanmar International Textile & Garment Exhibition, which lifts local brands to the global stage.

One area of improvement the MGMA has noted is the need to tap on workers’ potential and build their capacity. Much of their effort in Myanmar’s garment manufacturing industry is directed towards cut, make, and trim (CMT) operations.

This means that most workers only cut, make, and trim the fabrics they receive, and are not yet trained to do other crucial tasks in the garment production process, such as designing, sourcing, and distributing.

MGMA sought opportunities to further train workers, increase labour value in production, and sustain capacity growth for workers and factories. This is where International came in.

Over the last few months, Chief Executive Doreen Tan has delivered programmes in textiles, sourcing, and costing to workers in Myanmar and mentored them in the Shanghai Intertextile Fair to expand their capabilities and knowledge of the industry. International and MGMA signed November’s MOU to continue this collaboration and begin several capacity building initiatives, especially for knowledge transfer. International will continue training programmes, mentor a new generation of Myanmar-based trainers, and share resources and education materials with MGMA., MGMA, and CBI sign an MOU

The collaboration supports the Myanmar garment industry to transition Myanmar garment manufacturers from a CMT model of production to a comprehensive freight-on-board (FOB) production model.

This transition will enable businesses and workers to source quality textiles, calculate costs, and make a larger contribution – beyond CMT operations - to the garment production process. This valuable knowledge transfer will add value and grow the industry in a sustainable way.

After signing the MOU, Doreen visited MGMA’s brand new facilities: an entire floor with new sewing machines and stitching machines funded by the Myanmar Department of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

MGMA’s brand new facilities
The view of a new training room

With new training facilities and a new MOU, International, MGMA, and CBI commit to helping workers, trainers, and the Myanmar garment industry develop and grow for years to come.

This is only the beginning - watch this space for what happens next!

signatory photo
“Collaborating Toward a Sustainable Future”

The three signatories - U Myint Soe (Chairman of MGMA), Doreen Tan (Chief Executive of International), Heidy van der Ploeg (CBI Programme Manager) - and Rupa Ganguli (CBI consultant and founder of Inclusive Trade)

Isabel Perucho

Hi, I'm Isabel! I am a Product Designer at I graduated from Yale-NUS College in 2018 where I completed my Bachelors thesis on independent Filipino film. I love good design and have helped with freelance creative projects throughout my college years. I'm consistently on the lookout for ways to learn more about design, content creation, and UX/UI.

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