The General Assembly of EURATEX and the future of European textile and clothing
Under the motto “Textile and Clothing Industry in a changing economic environment” Euratex has been helding its general assembly on May 29, 2013 in Brussels (B)
EURATEX the voice of the European textile and clothing industry, President Alberto Paccanelli, named the challenges the textile and clothing industry has to face: consumption slow down in traditional markets, particularly in the EU countries versus increasing market opportunities n emerging economies.
The invited keynote speaker, Hosuk Lee-Makiyama from ECIPE European Centre for International Political Economy (think tank) pictured the current world market for the two textile market segments as well as its future situation. Among his major ideas proposed: The two industries are still highly dependent on the internal EU market, and they should take advantage of the upcoming FTAs Free Trade Agreements to increase exports to third markets. Trade growth is important among low developed economies and developing or emerging partners (South-South trade). On the other hand, it is a proven fact that share of EU states and the two textile segments is also growing, and that important competitors are now mainly investing in textiles, as well they are also tending to higher growth rates in R&D spending, however the EU textile segments are continuing to lead. He stated further that the overall EU share in world GDP will be cut by half within 15 years, it is mandatory to seize business opportunities in fast growing economies. He added that the Doha WTO World Trade Organisation Round crisis is enhancing trade regionalisation with important agreement in the pipeline, such as the TPP Trans-Pacific Partnership or the TTIP EU-US Agreement. This consolidation of regional supply chains leads to rules of origin, because they form an important role in these agreements.
The panellists provided a practical view of the current business environment by following different strategic approaches. Paolo Piana from Sinterama (I) described the experience of a specialty yarn producer. The company took the strategic option of specialisation and proximity to customers, for instance automotive manufacturers. It fostered cooperation and developed joint business solutions with other companies active in key third markets. Actually, the company is a global player present in important markets such as Brazil, China, Mexico or Turkey. Jean-François Gribomont (Utexbel, Belgium) described the perspective of a fabric manufacturer producing exclusively in the EU but exporting the world over. Its strategy lays in providing successful solutions for its customers, contributing is the investment of a considerable amount of the turnover (4 %) in product development. To further success the company needs to have access to highly qualified human resources. The company requests from the authorities a competitive framework allowing the industry to remain in the EU as a key driver of employment. Also the need to enhance industry/distribution relations is a way to enhance social and environmental standards along the textile and clothing supply chain. Marin Strzelecki (Henri Lloyd, Great Britain) made clear that his company is a family owned (SME) specialised sailing clothing brand retailer having successfully adapted to the changing business environment by fully integrating IT technologies in its sales process. He sees the future in product specialisation to cater with adequate products customers want wherever he needs it. In this context access to finance and credit insurance are critical to ensure a sustainable further development as it might be the case in general for SMEs.
In the discussion session other strategic priorities were named, such as improved access to world markets, favourable competitive environment within the EU, and enhanced cooperation between industries and distribution.
At the general assembly EURATEX launched its new public image, including new website accessible at the below link.