EU is a mature market and we cannot expect high growth rates on traditional products/markets, particularly in the fashion segment
The European Apparel and Textile Confederation (Euratex), with its headquarters located in Brussels, is the voice of European textile and clothing industry.
Its main objective is to promote the interests of its members while taking into account the European Union's institutional framework and its international obligations.
Alberto Paccanelli is the President of Euratex since January 1, 2011, for the period of two calender years. Moreover, he is the Member of the Board of the Chamber of commerce of Bergamo. Besides, his erstwhile titles include, CEO of the Linificio and Canapificio Group in the year 2000. Later he joined Martinelli Ginetto Group as the CEO and shareholder in 2007.
Along with, he is the Member of the Board of the Italian Textile and Clothing Association (SMI) since 2007. He graduated in economics from the University of Bergamo, Italy.
In this Face2Face interview with Fibre2Fashion Correspondent Cindrella Thawani, Paccanelli describes that current economic environment of Europe and some countries have a negative impact on the consumption. However, he also talks about the challenges and export surplus in this industry.
What are those cardinal areas of concern for Euratex to cherish vivify framework for textile and clothing (T&C) arena, for its further growth and promotion?
The European Union (EU) is the second world exporter of T&C and the world leader when it comes to fashion as well as technical applications. In this context, the role of Euratex is to ensure that the Industry has rightful market and regulatory conditions to enhance its competitive drivers: innovation, knowledge base, provider of solutions to other sectors, strong service orientation.
Our actions are thus centered in three main pillars: (a) Trade and Markets; (b) Research and Innovation; (c) Sustainability. Our main objective is to ensure that consumers around the world have access to the most innovative and sustainable products at competitive prices.
How do you see the R&D, environmental measures and innovation in to the projects of textile and clothing industry in Europe, further which can bring value addition to the industry?
In order to successfully respond to changes in the competitive environment over the years, EU T&C industry has managed to adjust its production capabilities, supply chain and available resources, to match the challenge of becoming more flexible, cost effective and sustainable industry.
Moreover, at the same time continue to invest in creative and high value added products, developing innovative solutions through research and product development. This trend will continue as we intend to retain our position as world leader both in fashion and in technical applications.
T&C sector remains a significant sector in EU. Where do you see the future trade relations can excel in terms of opportunity to European Union?
One of the main challenges for our industry is the successful access to Third Country’s markets, including public procurement, which in a considerable number of cases remain closed or highly protected by tariff and non-tariff barriers.
Taking into account that a multilateral trade agreement seems far for the moment, we are fully supporting the EU strategy of engaging in bilateral trade agreements with major trading partners, e.g. India, Mercosul.
In this way we hope to promote a better and wider access to high quality T&C products at competitive prices by removing all the barriers and restrictive measures.
Textile and clothing sector experienced lowest growth rates few years ago as well as exports. How is the situation presently?
The 2008-2009 economic crises put additional strain on EU T&C companies as well as on T&C producers around the world as a consequence of the lower consumption in the major developed markets, e.g. EU, USA, Japan and also of the problems to access finance.
Currently the economic environment in Europe, especially in some countries, is not very positive and this has again a negative impact on consumption. On the other end consumption in emerging markets is still growing and that is why EU exports towards countries such as Russia or China continue to experience a very positive trend.
Where do you see, which sector in textile is on a way to lead and shares significant export surplus?
The export surplus depends more on the markets than on the sectors. In some markets, exports surplus is on the fashion segment- in particular clothing- like Japan or South Korea and in others it can be both in textiles and clothing like the US or Canada.
In terms of major trends for each segment: (a) Technical Applications- significant growth potential both in mature and emergent markets and the EU is a leader in the world market; (b) Home Textiles- the growth potential is more on the emerging markets. However, the European industry will continue to have the fashion edge and this will ensure a sustained market position in mature markets; (c) Garments- Europe will continue to lead in design and fashion but the most significant growth potential for European companies in this segment will come from emerging markets as we can see already today in China or Russia.
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