Today, the textile industry is among the most important sectors of Turkey with its export to more than 200 countries. Closing the year 2020 with an export loss of 2-2.5%, the Turkish textile industry targets growth of approximately one billion dollars in exports for 2021. In his statement on the İTHİB Youtube channel, İTHİB (Istanbul Textile and Raw Materials Exporters’ Association) Chairman of the Board Ahmet Öksüz evaluated the year 2020 of the textile industry and also mentioned the main agenda topics of the sector. Recommending to textile manufacturers, Öksüz talked about the ongoing projects for the development of the sector.
According to the information given by Ahmet Öksüz, the Turkish textile sector has a production power of 340 billion TL with the apparel sector. Besides, it is the sector that creates the most employment in Turkey with more than 1 million employment. It always ranks first in foreign trade surplus and provides Turkey a net foreign exchange income of 16 billion dollars every year. When the effects of the pandemic were seen intensely, the textile and apparel industry exported 9.7 billion dollars with a loss of 2-2.5% in 2020 and now the export target in 2021 is 11 billion dollars.
Turkey’s main market is the EU with 50% export
Ahmet Öksüz stated that the European Union is Turkey’s main market with 50% export. Noting that there was an increase in the market of 2.5% by increasing its market share from 14.8% to 17.2%, Öksüz said that they benefited from the advantages of being the sixth-largest supplier of the sector. Öksüz noted; “Being a big player in foreign trade is very important. We exported to Australia at 10 times the price of Turkey’s average last year, and we also reached record levels in the USA”.
The main agenda of the Turkish textile industry 2021: sustainability
Emphasizing that the United Nations (UN) sustainable development goals, the Paris Agreement and the European Green Deal provide very important clues for the vision of the sector, Ahmet Öksüz commented;
“Leaving a livable world to future generations is one of our most important duties. In this sense, the measurement of carbon footprint and production with less energy and water usage comes to the fore. Zero waste is also very important. Recycling the wastes into yarn and then into clothes is on our main agenda. Besides, social compliance criteria are among the topics that we will talk about much more in the coming period”.
Companies should invest in sustainability
Ahmet Öksüz relayed that sustainability is very important for companies in the textile and apparel industry. Saying that big buyers are now making their plans accordingly, Öksüz stated that companies should make the necessary investments in this sense. Öksüz also mentioned the importance of product quality; “Turkey is a manufacturer that has proven itself in terms of quality. If we can be in the first place in the world, the quality of Turkish goods has a share in. We are a world brand in many products”. He explained the other main highlights as follows:
“R&D and innovation are also important. We see this and the added value it creates, especially in our companies with R&D centers. Digitalization is the same. At such a time when physical fairs and customer visits are not possible, it is important for companies to invest in this issue. We should also mention the market diversity here. Although the EU is our most important market, it is very important to be able to protect it. Apart from that, being able to enter new markets with new products is also very big steps to increase our exports”.
Technical textile production is increasing
Stating that the works on the digital delegation and digital fair, which entered our lives with the pandemic in 2020, will continue this year as well. Ahmet Öksüz talked about their projects from the past and continuing today.
The Turkish textile industry’s 2021 program includes a fabric fair with England and Russia, a home textile delegation with the USA, as well as meetings and delegations with Poland and some other European countries. Noting that besides, they have worked on technical textiles in terms of producing products with higher added value, Ahmet Öksüz said, “Technical textiles is one of our sub-sectors, but it is an area where we also produce and increase production in parallel with the rapidly increasing world demand”.
Relaying that they will continue to work in 2021 within the scope of the sector’s sustainable export targets, Öksüz told that they have established a commission on sustainability in this context and that they will present a roadmap and guide here. Emphasizing the importance of logistic centers, Öksüz noted; “Foreign logistic centers that we run with TIM (Turkish Exporters’ Assembly) with the support of the Ministry of Trade will be very important next year and this year”.
It will be focused on young people
Ahmet Öksüz stated that the ‘Tercihim Tekstil Mühendisliği’ project, which is very important in terms of trained human resource, was very successful and that they will continue it in 2021. Noted that thanks to this project, the rankings increased and the textile engineering department approached the old scores, Öksüz completed his words as follows; “This motivated us a lot. We will focus on the young people a little more. In fact, we are thinking of tend not only to universities but also to high schools and vocational high schools”.