To improve the country's competitiveness in the global garment industry, a panel of experts has called for Indonesian producers to improve their understanding of the market's needs.
The experts were speaking Friday during the launch of the Indonesian Apparel Industry Networking Event, which is part of the 2007 Indonesian Textile and Apparel Fair here.
The one-day event, sponsored by the USAID-funded Indonesian competitiveness initiative (SENADA), together with the Indonesian Textile Association (API) and the International Garment Training Center (IGTC), is an effort to improve ties between producers and buyers.
Zulian Siregar, SENADA senior industry adviser, said the networking event, with the theme "Link and Match", allow SENADA to link interested buyers with suitable producers.
"It serves as a meeting point for buyers and producers, which we personally and individually arrange down to the venue and timing of meeting," he said.
"Hopefully this will facilitate interaction between the two parties, especially since the producers will be able to hear first-hand about what buyers expect from them."
Indonesia's garment exports last year stood at US$4.5 billion, making it one of the country's top non-oil and gas foreign exchange earners.
But with increasing competition from new market players, especially China and Vietnam, Indonesia is in danger of losing its status as one of the world's major garment exporters.
The founder of IGTC, Till Freyer, said garment producers here need to understand their markets and have direct access to buyers.
"This industry is a buyer-driven one. Thus, producers who offer exceptional services and meet buyer-vendor compliance standards will definitely have strong competitive power."
Earlier this year, the government allocated Rp 255 billion ($246 million) in subsidies and low-interest loans to help textile producers purchase new machinery, to make them more efficient and allow the producers to diversify their products. (09)