Retailers ditch Asia, use factories nearer home

Factories in Bosnia-Herzegovina could be among unlikely winners from the global health crisis.

They're winning new orders from major clothing brands which have fallen out of love with Asian producers.

The big labels are smarting from disruption to production and shipping sparked by the global health crisis.

Bulgaria, Romania, Morocco, Brazil and Turkey are among other countries seeing new interest.

In Bosnia, factory owner Radenko Bubic says business is booming:

"Tens of companies have contacted us already, ones that entirely or partly operate in the East. There were several tours of our production capacities, some of them announced their arrival in the second half of November and the first half of December."

Plastic clogs maker Crocs is one to say it's moving some production to Bosnia.

U.S. shoe retailer Steve Madden said last week it had cut production in Vietnam and shifted much output to Brazil and Mexico from China.

In Turkey, apparel exports are set to hit a record high $20 billion this year.

Dejan Ristic is a Serbian factory owner:

"Demand has increased. It's obvious that big European firms that manufactured in China wish to transfer to this part of Europe. It's a chance for us to increase production, to increase capacity. That said, some things are a bit limiting for us – the lack of labour, the fact that Europe doesn't get that labour prices here are not the same as in China. But I think they will understand because the problems are getting bigger. In China, transportation problems are on the rise, as well as problems with the delivery of merchandise. So, I expect and hope that this is an exceptional opportunity."

China remains a huge player in clothes making.

But Vietnam is feeling the chill.

Last month its government said clothing exports could be $5 billion short of target this year due to the health crisis and labor shortages.

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