‘Made in Myanmar’ to hit US shelves

American shoppers will soon be finding “Made in Myanmar”clothing back on the shelves. Apparel giant Gap Inc has become the first major US retailer to source garments produced in Myanmar since the easing of sanctions in a move that those in the industry hope will signal the arrival of more international investment, according to the Myanmar Times.

The San Francisco-based company placed an order earlier this yearfor outerwear to be made at two factories in Yangon. The jackets and vests, which are for the company’s Old Navy and Banana Republic Factory brands, will be shipped to the United States in June and available for sale in stores later this summer.

After consulting with US Customs and conductingtwo focus groups, the garments manufactured in Yangon will carry tags reading “Made in Myanmar.”

While the company is not investing directly in Myanmar, Gap Inc will source from factories owned by a South Korean company that has a long-standing business relationship with it in other markets, said Debbie Mesloh, senior director of government and public affairs at Gap Inc. She declined to name the factory owners or the location of the factories, citing the information as competitive.

MsMesloh told The Myanmar Times that Gap Inc was eager to be the first American retailer to enter Myanmar and said the company could be a leader in the manufacturing industry as it develops.

Through the 1990s and early 2000s the garment industry was one of the Myanmar’sfastest-growing sector and employed hundreds of thousands of workers at its peak. From 1990 to 2001 garment exports grew 69-fold and by 2000 accounted for 39.5 percent of Myanmar’s total exports, up from just 2.5pc a decade earlier.