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Denim fabric making units in Mexican FTZ decline

Apr '12
For over two decades, 20 denim fabric manufacturing units existed in the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in Puebla state of Mexico.

However, the number of manufacturing units, called maquiladoras in Mexico, has decreased over the years and only six denim producing units are currently in operation in Puebla, which ranks second in terms of domestic production and exports in Mexico.

The denim manufacturing factories are mainly located in Teziutlan and Tehuacan municipalities of Puebla state.

Although the numbers of units and jobs have come down significantly, the denim industry in Puebla does not run the risk of collapse, according to Jaun Moreno Quintana, President of the Chamber of Textile Industry in Puebla-Tlaxcala region.

The Puebla region produces about 3 million metres of denim per month and is the largest producer of denim in Mexico, said Quintana.

Kamel Nacif Borge, also called 'The King of Denim' in Mexico, owned seven denim manufacturing units under the name of Tarrant Apparel Group (TAG). These units were located in Tehuacan, Puebla and Tlaxcala and they together employed more than 6,000 people. However, only two units of the TAG survive today.

Like the textile industry, the denim manufacturing industry too declined in Puebla due to lack of modernization in machinery, said Arleth Sanchez, Marketing Manager at Tavex, one of the TAG units that remains operational.

The competition from Asian countries was another factor for decline in denim industry as it forced the existing units to reduce production costs by up to 30 percent while maintaining the quality, he added.

The denim units that survived had to either sell their factories to foreign companies or enter into partnership agreement with them. For example, Kamel Nacif sold Textile Finishes and Cuts (Acotex) to the Spanish firm Tavex in 2007 for US$ 42 million.

Antonio Bassil Alam, President of Puebla chapter of the National Chamber of the Clothing Industry, said at present the denim exports from the region belong to non-Mexican brands such as GAP, DKNY, Levi's and Hilfiger.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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