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Huge Russian market awaits New Zealand wool
May '11
For Russia, New Zealand has become a likely importing source for fur and woolen clothings and accessories, including rugs, blankets, hats and scarves.

The recent trip by a Russian buyer to several companies in Auckland, Palmerston North, Levin and Christchurch has made textile companies in New Zealand confident that their business with Russia will grow.

During his visit to New Zealand textile companies, Russian entrepreneur Evegeniy Sukhov inspected wool and possum merino products. Possum merino is a blend of fine wool and possum fur.

His visit was the result of efforts made by a trade delegation which went to Russia in 2010. The delegation led by Textiles New Zealand consisted of seven wool and textiles companies which showed natural fibre products, especially those made from wool and possum merino, to Russian entrepreneurs.

According to an industry expert, the collapse of the large Russian textile industry after the Cold War and the severely cold winters in Russia has provided New Zealand with a good opportunity to market its woolen products.

The market in Russia is huge and hence if the products are marketed properly, there might be large business opportunities in the offing for New Zealand companies.

At present, trade between Russia and New Zealand is minimal compared to the level of trade during the Cold War when Russian soldiers were using New Zealand wool.

Textile New Zealand analysts expect a fast growth of the Russian textile industry, although clothing is Russia's second-largest imported product. Currently, Russia imports clothing mainly from China and Turkey.

As the Russian textile industry develops, it is expected that a demand would arise for New Zealand wool and possum merino. The fact that some products like possum fur and alpaca are unique to New Zealand is also likely to add to the demand.

The unique products are made by combining other products with wool. Of these, the industry for possum merino amounting to US$ 100 million a year is the largest. Due to its hollow fibre provided warmth, possum merino products may suit the Russian market.

Thus, a huge potential Russian market seems to be awaiting the New Zealand textile industry, especially for mid-micron outdoor-wear, strong wools, blankets, rugs, and fine-wool clothing.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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