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Overcapacity in man-made fibres has worsened situation – DG, CIRFS
Jul '09
Mr Colin Purvis, Director General, CIRFS
Mr Colin Purvis, Director General, CIRFS
CIRFS is the association representing man-made fibre producers in Europe. For many years it was known as the Comité International de la Rayonne et des Fibres Synthétiques, or CIRFS for short. In May this year, it changed its name to the easier and more accurate name of European Man-made Fibres Association, but still keeping the well-known initials CIRFS. The European man-made fibres industry is the second biggest in the world, much smaller in terms of volumes than China, but slightly ahead of USA and India. So CIRFS has a very important role.

To know more about the current situation of manmade fibres sector in Europe, fibre2fashion spoke exclusively to Mr Colin Purvis, Director General of CIRFS. We began by asking him about the activities carried out by CIRFS for the benefit of the man-made fibres sector, to which he said, “CIRFS has three main activities. First, it represents the European industry in its relations with the European authorities across a huge range of issues like international trade, competition, environmental regulations and much else”.

“Secondly, it collects and analyses market information on production, sales and international trade, and provides these to its members to help their marketing and planning and also publishes an annual report bringing all this information together. Thirdly, it promotes industry cooperation and initiatives on technical, research and environmental issues and is a sponsor of the Dornbirn Man-made Fibers Congress, the world's biggest technical conference dealing with man-made fibres and the textiles made from them, also supports the work of BISFA, our affiliate organisation in setting industry standards and test methods”, he added by saying.

Next we asked him to comment on the current scenario in man-made fibres to which he replied by saying, “It is a difficult period for the man-made fibres industry everywhere in the world. The economic recession is having a big impact. European economies are depressed this year, and unemployment is rising, so consumers are spending less on textiles and apparel, and other industries using large volumes of man-made fibres like the car sector are also cutting back. And our export markets for fibres and textiles are also under pressure”.

He explained further by saying, “Starting in late 2008, we experienced a big fall in demand and production, which carried through into the early months of 2009, but now the situation is a little more stable, but still at an unsatisfactory level of business and we think that it will be into 2010 before we see any sustained improvement. The situation is made worse by the existence of global overcapacity on a huge scale, for many types of fibre but especially polyester. CIRFS estimates that for many fibre types capacity is currently beingused at less than 70%”.

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