Turkey is a dynamic emerging-market economy strategically located between Europe and Asia, and bordering the Mediterranean, Aegean, and Black Seas. Clothing and textiles exports plays significant role for country's economy. Turkey’s textile and clothing sector has a great significance in world trade too. According to the World Trade Organization 2006 figures, it is the 9th largest supplier in textile and 4th in clothing. It is also the 2nd supplier of the EU market in textile and clothing following China. Having been founded on 1994, the Undersecretariat of the Prime Ministry for Foreign Trade (UFT) is the highest authority that controls and directs issues concerning export and imports. Initially, the UFT was a branch of the Ministry of Industry and Trade. However, by the 1980s Turkey has launched a liberal economy and export-led growth model. Thus, the foreign trade necessitated a unique independent organ. Basically, the UFT assists the government in determining the policies of foreign trade and arranges bilateral and multilateral trade and economic relations along with exports, encouragement of exports, imports and contracting services abroad, monitoring the implementations and promoting them. The UFT is composed of 7 General Directorates (GD), namely: GD of Exports, GD of Imports, GD of Agreements, GD of European Union Affairs, GD of Free Zones, GD of Standardization for Foreign Trade and finally GD of Economic Research and Assessment. Besides these GDs, the UFT also has complementary institutions such as Export Promotion Center and Exporters’ Unions. The UFT with its complementary institutions tries to encourage Turkish producers to enter world markets. The UFT has also abroad organization. Aiming at promoting exports to the countries, to which they are accredited and materializing imports from these countries with convenient conditions, commercial counselors are arranging trade and economic relations between Turkey and other countries. Undersecretariat of foreign trade has 61 operational commercial offices in 51 countries and 3 to international organizations (OECD-Paris, WTO-Geneva, EU-Brussels). Textiles Department is functional under General Directorates of Imports. To delve out more about this potential sector i.e. the Turkish textile and clothing industry, Face2Face team spoke with the Textiles Department, Undersecretariat of Foreign Trade, Republic of Turkey. The excerpts are as below;
What are the role & the strengths of the textile industry in the economic progress for Turkey?
In case of Turkey, the creation of a modern textile and clothing industry began with the founding of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. Later on, the industry has become an impulsive force in Turkish economy in terms of both domestic and foreign aspects, starting from 1970s until present. Especially with the boom in Turkish exports in line with the transition to free market economy in 1980, Turkish textiles and clothing industry experienced a successful move by recording an increase rate more than the increase rate of global textiles and clothing industry. It constitutes one of the largest industries in terms of employment and production with a share of 4 % in GDP, 20% in manufacturing output, and 21% in employment in the manufacturing sector.
Turkey’s textile and clothing sector has a great significance in world trade, also. According to the World Trade Organization 2006 figures, it is the 9th largest supplier in textile and 4th in clothing. It is also the 2nd supplier of the EU market in textile and clothing following China.
Technical Textile is one area where the future lies, say experts from the industry. Where do you see Turkey faring in this nascent sector?
After the abolition of quotas in 2005 the competition is extremely condensed in the world textile and clothing sector. Under these conditions, Turkey aims to be “the leader country” assured its competitiveness with high value added, technology and design driven production via product and market differentiation and providing sustainable export increase. Additionally in parallel to the current trends in the world, Turkey has shown great success in the technical textile production thanks to close cooperation between university-industry and governmental institutions and importance given to R&D.
As it is well known, technical and functional textile segment of the textile industry is growing rapidly in the world markets and it is expected to gain more importance in the coming 15-20 years. These products are being used almost every field of our everyday lives. Agriculture, building technologies, geology, medical uses, ecology, packing industry, and protective and sportive clothing are the main fields where technical textiles are being used.
Meanwhile, technical textile production and product diversification is increasing in Turkey in parallel to the developments of world markets. Turkey has adequate infrastructure in terms of new materials, current technology, know how and human sources to achieve development and growth in the technical textile field.
Technical textile investments in Turkey can be considered as “new”, but it is known that many companies are active in different fields. For example, the following may be considered as the most prominent fields and products:- Nonwoven fabrics and products, - stiffening materials, - special felts, - filtration materials, - products of automotive and packaging industries, - military clothes and equipments, - medical or antibacterial products, - protective clothing like bullet-proof jackets or heat resistent garments, - easy-care and non-iron fabrics and garments, - nanotechnologic fabrics and garments, - isolation of aeroplanes, - multi functional fabrics, - antibacterial socks,
Both domestic users such as Turkish Armed Forces, hotels, hospitals and foreign users prefer Turkish technical textiles. Turkish producers of technical textiles are generally small and medium size companies. There are also some very large-scale companies. These large-scale companies are well known in the world markets. On the other hand, investments in the promising fields of technical textiles like nonwoven products and automotive textiles are increasing regularly.
Today, various technical textile products are being produced in Turkey as it is mentioned above. As to the leading export items, flexible intermediate bulk containers of man-made textile materials, tyre cord fabric of high tenacity yarn of nylon, polyesters or viscose rayon, glass fibers and articles and nonwovens can be written down.
Turkish technical textile export has been in an increasing trend since 2000. During the seven years between 2000 and 2006, Turkey’s technical textile export rose by two folds.
DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.