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Communication & Cooperation, Development with Concerted Efforts | ISU Chairman Zhang Guoqiang Visits Silk Organizations and Enterprises in Three Southeast Asian Countries

Time:2023-08-16 Source:本站

In order to investigate the current state of international silk industry development, strengthen exchange and interaction with silk organizations and enterprises in Southeast Asia, solicit opinions regarding the changing of ISU organization structure, and invite relevant entities to participate in the "2023 International Silk Union Members Assembly" scheduled to be held in Lyon, France, from July 30th to August 4th, 2023, a delegation led by Zhang Guoqiang, Chairman of ISU and Chairman of the board of Cathaya Group, conducted a survey of the silk industries in Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia, including discussions and dialogues with key figures such as The Queen Sirikit Department of Sericulture of Thailand Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Vietnam Sericultural Reserch Center and Vietnam Sericulture Association, Silk Sector Promotion and Development Commission of Cambodia Ministry of Commerce, and also the site visits to relevant silk enterprises in these three countries. Bian Xinger, Deputy secretary-general, Pepper Liu, Secretary of ISU accompanied the visit.

On July 30th to 31st, Zhang Guoqiang visited the headquarter, museum and flagship store of ISU executive member Jim Thompson Thai Silk Company Limited. He held discussions with Surindr Supasavasdebhandu, the company's Executive director, and Steve M W Benhar, Chief operating officer. The discussions covered topics such as the brand history and cultural uniqueness of Jim Thompson, prospects for revitalizing business and brand development post-pandemic, as well as in-depth conversations about enhancing international collaboration throughout the whole silk industry chain. Steve M W Benhar expressed that, as a founding member of ISU, Jim Thompson will continue to support ISU’s development and actively participate in relevant meetings and activities.


On July 31st, Zhang Guoqiang held a discussion with Saranyu Poollarp, Deputy director of The Queen Sirikit Department of Sericulture. The discussion primarily focused on gaining insights into the current state of Thailand's sericulture and silk industry development, as well as the key responsibilities of The Queen Sirikit Department of Sericulture. Zhang Guoqiang introduced the essential introduction of ISU and its recent activities, extending an invitation for joining ISU. Saranyu Poollarp expressed that the approval process might be lengthy being a government subsidiary department, however, during this period, they will actively leverage international platforms like ISU, to enhance industry exchanges and promote mutually beneficial cooperation. Heads of various divisions participated both online and offline in this meeting.


Overview of the Silk Industry in Thailand

Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives of Thailand, established The Queen Sirikit Department of Sericulture, primarily undertakes the planning of sericulture tasks. This encompasses strategic and policy formulation, research , protection and standard certification, technology transfer and development, as well as product marketing. The department is dedicated to improving the livelihoods of farmers and enhancing the international influence of Thai silk. It is reported that Thailand currently has around 56,326 sericulture households, with a mulberry planting area of 12,750 hectares. The country boasts 227 registered mulberry varieties, including 4 major varieties primarily utilized for silkworm production. Among the silkworm varieties, 90-97% are the traditional mulberry silkworm, while the remaining 3% are Thai native hybrid varieties. It has notable silk enterprises such as Chul Thai Silk (with 14 reeling machines) representing reeling silk production, and Spun Silk World representing spun silk production. In 2022, Thailand produced approximately 435 tons of silk yarn. The total amount of silk yarn imports was 253 tons and the value exceeded $6.27 million, while exports was 251 tons and value totaled over $6.28 million. Key export markets include the United States, Japan, Italy, the United Kingdom and France. Renowned silk brands such as Jim Thompson and Pasaya, produce popular silk textile products such as fashion apparel, home decorations and custom-made items, all of which are well sold globally.

On August 1st, Zhang Guoqiang held discussions with Nguyen Thi Len and Nguyen Thi Min, Deputy directors of Sericultural Research Institute of Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences. The discussions aimed to gain insights into the basic overview of the institute and the developmental journey of the sericulture industry in Vietnam. Zhang Guoqiang acknowledged the rapid development of Vietnam's sericulture industry and its elevated international status. He also welcomed the application of institute to join ISU. Heads of various departments within the institute attended the meeting. After then, the participants collectively visited the institute's key laboratories and the ongoing construction of the silk and sericulture exhibition hall.


On August 2nd, Zhang Guoqiang engaged in discussions with Le Quang Tu, the newly-appointed President, Dang Vinh Tho and Le Thai Vu, Vice presidents, and Vu Ngoc Van, Secretary general of Vietnam Sericulture Association(VSA), ISU vice-chairman unit. The discussions primarily aimed to comprehend the current state of silk industry production in Vietnam and the role of VSA in industry management. In response to VSA's demands for introducing investment cooperation, improving the quality of silkworm egg production, and enhancing the level of industrial chain mechanization, Zhang Guoqiang stated that the leapfrog development of Vietnam's sericulture and silk industry requires a unified management mechanism between the government and the industry, which is to provide policy support and guarantee for external enterprise investment. ISU will continue to build the international platform to promote communication and mutual learning between VSA and other ISU members, and achieve win-win cooperation. Member companies of VSA accompanied the meeting. After then, Zhang Guoqiang and his delegation conducted visits to silk production enterprises involved in reeling, twisting, weaving, refining, dyeing and printing, including Dong Lam Silk and Ha Bao Silk, etc. A portion of the association's members have already registered for participation in the "2023 International Silk Union Members Assembly".


Overview of the Silk Industry in Vietnam

Sericultural Research Institute of Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Vietnam Sericulture Association, established by Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, play a leading role in the development of Vietnam's sericulture and silk industry. It is reported that Vietnam currently has around 38,076 sericulture households distributed across 34 provinces. The mulberry planting area is about 13,166 hectares across 8 production regions, with over 75% concentrated in the Tay Nguyen highland. The main silkworm varieties are hybrid silkworms, with a small portion of Eri silkworms. Currently, there are 4 silkworm breeding factories meeting 10% of the market demand, while over 90% of the silkworm eggs are imported from China. In 2021, Vietnam produced approximately 16,456 tons of fresh cocoons. Silk reeling equipment mainly includes automatic, multi-ends and cottage silk reeling basin. There are a total of 56 silk reeling and weaving factories nationwide, with 32 automated reeling factories possessing 100 sets of equipment, 14 mechanical reeling factories, and 10 weaving factories. In 2021, Vietnam's silk yarn production reached 1,067 tons, with exports totaling $72.75 million. The largest export market is India, accounting for 92.3% of exports, followed by China, Europe, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand, etc. The silk weaving industry is currently in a rapid development phase, featuring numerous traditional weaving villages while also introducing modern weaving equipment. Annual silk fabric production can reach up to 5 million meters. However, the silk refining, printing and dyeing sectors of the industry have relatively weaker with fewer orders in comparison.

On August 4th, Zhang Guoqiang held discussions with Mao Thora, Secretary of State of Cambodia  Ministry of Commerce and Chairman of Silk Sector Promotion and Development Commission(SDC), the executive member of ISU. The discussions aimed to understand the responsibilities of SDC and to gain insights into the overall silk industry in Cambodia. Special emphasis was placed on receiving information from Ministry of Commerce regarding the ongoing planning of "National Silk Development Strategy", and also the demands on obtaining external investment, resource docking and industrial assistance through platforms such as ISU to support the development of Cambodia's silk industry. Zhang Guoqiang mentioned that China had already released the "Action Plan for the High-Quality Development of Sericulture and Silk Industry (2021-2025)", and ISU will coordinate and connect some resources of relevant countries, promote mutual support and cooperation, and jointly promote the sustainable development of the silk industry. Representatives from various departments attend the meeting. After then, Zhang Guoqiang and his delegation visited Cambodian women's hand-weaving communities, as well as renowned silk brand stores such as Artisan Angkor and Kei Meas.


Overview of the Silk Industry in Cambodia

The Silk Sector Promotion and Development Commission, established by Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia, takes the lead in strategic planning for Cambodia's silk industry and supports its development. It is reported that sericulture in Cambodia has not yet reached a significant scale and is primarily scattered across various provinces. The annual production of local yellow silk yarn amounts to just 1 ton. Consequently, Cambodia primarily relies on imported raw silk, with an import volume of 34 tons in 2022, 76% of which comes from China and Vietnam. Silk weaving in Cambodia is primarily done through manual weaving, concentrated within hand-weaving communities. This provides employment opportunities for approximately 7,000 households nationwide. Cambodian silk fabrics exhibit traditional Khmer characteristics. Cambodia has silk brands like Artisan Angkor, Sentosa, and Kei Meas, focusing on products such as clothing, home decor, and custom-made items. These products are mainly exported to consumer markets in Europe, the United States, Japan, and South Korea, etc. The development of Cambodia's silk industry is relatively lagging and requires strengthening international cooperation, introducing external technology and investment, which is advancing towards the industrialization of sericulture and silk production.