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Vietnam revamps as 'world's mask factory' to offset COVID hit

Hanoi expects garment sector to still gain from China migration post-pandemic

With exports plunging, Vietnam's garment makers change course to produce personal protective equipment, including surgical masks, instead.   © Reuters

HO CHI MINH CITY -- Vietnam is pushing garment manufacturers to make personal protective equipment, including face masks, to offset the fall in textile exports and foreign investment in the local supply chain as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Clothing and shoe companies had been shifting their production lines to the Southeast Asian country for years, cutting reliance on China and riding on Vietnam's trade deals. The pandemic hit the brakes on that trend, an interruption that the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association has called its worst crisis. VITAS represents 450 companies.

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