Mr. M.M. Khourma
Chairman Jordan Garments, Accessories, & Textiles Exporters’ Association (JGATE)
Knitted and crocheted fabrics were best performer sectors for Jordan about a decade ago. How about present times?
Both Woven and Knitted fabrics are still performing well in Jordan, in relation to the export figures and garment quantities produced.
The main controlling factor is the composition of the yarns used in knitting and weaving, which allows higher benefit of the FTA agreement, where Man-Made Fibers has higher duties (around 33%) for access to the US market than Natural Fibers. With all that said, still garments made of knitted fabrics are dominant due to another fact as well, that Jordan lost a big portion of washed garments made of woven fabrics (Denim) due to the high cost of water in Jordan.
On technological advancement front, how equipped is Jordanian T&C?
Jordan is still not grown adequately on the technology of the apparel sector. The reason is that even after 10 years of manufacturing garments for exports to the US, Jordan is still only offering cut and make services in addition to some basic value addition components, such as printing, embroidery and washing. From the designs to the choice of the fabrics and trims suppliers every decision is made by the buyers, and even the logistics service is controlled by the buyers, which leaves Jordan with very little to add.
Several efforts were made to enhance the design capabilities in the apparel sector but still it is at its early stages. A major part of research and development is applied at the fabric stage which Jordan does not possess as all fabrics are either knitted or woven outside of Jordan.
Our last talk also helped us to know the role of JGATE in resolving operational bottlenecks by lobbying for the regulatory change. So, for present times, what set of challenges lies ahead for the industry to fight out?
The main challenge facing the industry today is increasing the minimum wage. Currently the minimum wage in Jordan is JOD150 equivalent to USD211 / month. The government, based on recommendations of an official committee formed by the government, is to study the economic situation and its impact on the social status. This committee recommended increasing the minimum wage from JOD150 up to JOD200 (USD281).
So, as voice of the industry, what agenda JGATE took to resolve such issues?
JGATE got the support of the Chamber of Industry as they are also opposing any increase since the overall economic situation worldwide is not encouraging. Besides that, the Chamber of industry is representing the private sector in the Trio committee.
The Trio committee is the government, the labor (represented by the unions), and the private sector (represented by the chamber of industry), this Trio committee will have to reach to a collective agreement on any increase on the wages.
We also met with both, the Minister of Industry and Trade and later the Minister of Labor on separate occasions followed by Sector / Government meeting with both ministers at the same time under “Meet the Government Event” that JGATE organizes periodically. This time also it was organized by JGATE in co-operation with the Chamber of Industry. A letter was also sent to the prime minister alarming that the sector will lose its competitiveness incase any increase was made on the wages and thereby such increase will put all positive contribution of the sector at stake.
Many thanks for the candid conversation Mr. Khourma! We wish all the very best for the Jordanian T&C sector and your association’s valued efforts in its sake.
Thank you too for your interest in the garment sector in Jordan and for giving me this opportunity to give an idea on this industry.
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