Textile, garment and apparel are known to be three of the most important, strong and assertive sectors of Turkish economy. Turkish garment exports continued to increase even after the expiration of the global textile quota system at the end 2004, as agreed under the World Trade Organization Agreement on Textiles and Clothing. The sector continues to maintain and enhance its competitiveness. In 2013 the total value of clothing exports was 15 billion dollars. The sector exports about 65% of its production. Approximately 80% of the clothing exported is cotton clothing. Knitted clothing and accessories, with an export value of 9.3 billion dollars, had a share of 61,8% in total of clothing exports, and woven clothing had a share of 38,2% with a value of 5.7 billion dollars in 2013. Recent numbers are hopeful despite all the disadvantages of the region.
Mr. Emre Kızılgüneşler, Vice Chairman of Aegean Exporters’ Associations and President of the Aegean Garment and Apparel Exporters’ Association, emphasizes the fact that Turkey is the strongest country in textile, garment and apparel sectors in its region with many geographical and industrial advantages.
We have recently completed the first half of 2017. What would you say about performance of the garment and the apparel industry?
Due to some internal and external factors, Turkish textile, garment and apparel sectors had some difficulties during H1 this year and those factors still exist. However the industry maintains its stability despite the adverse events taking place at the Middle East region. We must confess that the failed coup attempt last year also affected the sector negatively. The rising diplomatic tension between Turkey and Europe was -and still is- another undesired case. But for last five or six months, our foreign clients and partners agreed on the fact that the Turkish producers and exporters are built as strong as a brick outhouse. Questions and concerns had been scattered but recent advancements proved that Turkish textile, garment and apparel industries are trustworthy and strong both in terms of quality and business. Turkey is a safe port for foreign investors and traders.
What can you say about the recent exportation numbers of Turkey in the first half?
Since June this year, Turkey’s textile, garment and apparel exportation caught a rising trend once again. Latest developments affected our trade positively and Turkey’s region gave a promising outlook. As a matter of fact, our exportation to Iraq increased substantially. Crisis with Russia is another case that has been dropped behind. Considering the current appealing situation, I think that the acceleration in our exportation trend will continue till the end of the year. Also this acceleration rises our expectations on goods for the year of 2018 in terms of textile, garment and apparel sectors.
What are the main features that differentiate Turkey’s textile, garment and apparel products from its competitors?
Firstly, Turkey is a leader when it comes to time management. Our firms work fast with less flow rates and this makes their delivery times relatively shorter. Fair trade is another significant factor that puts us a step ahead. Turkey also has the geographical advantage in comparison to Southern Asian markets. The time difference with European markets is omissible. And probably the most important point is that Turkey’s textile infrastructure that supports garment and apparel is very strong. That gives our European clients the opportunity to procure all items from Turkey. Therefore, the factors mentioned come together and form one big unity. In the case of an absence of any component from this form, you start losing. Currently, Turkey is the strongest country in textile, garment and apparel sectors in its region.
Izmir is the heart of the Aegean region of Turkey. What are the advantages of the city for the sector?
Izmir has a lot of major advantages starting with its philosophy of life which is important for fashion. There’s a conception called the “Izmir eye” that has its roots from the city’s cosmopolitan historical background. The city and the entire region has a strong infrastructure in terms of academics and human resources that we need in the textile and garment sectors.
There are two upcoming international events in textile and garment sectors; Paris Premiere Vision Fair and Munich Apparel Source Exhibitions. Why is it important to be at events such as Premiere Vision and Apparel Source?
The national participation of Turkey at both Paris Premiere Vision and Munich Apparel Source fairs has been organized by Aegean Exporters’ Association for many years. Especially, Premier Vision is a very important international event for fabric. And the garment dimension of the fair is being expanded recently. Thousands of designers from all over the world are visiting the Paris Premiere Vision Fair and they are on the lookout for new fabric trends. They also have the chance to examine the garment opportunities in Turkey.