The pre MediTex webinar lays the foundations for the reactivation of the post-COVID Mediterranean textile sector

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Barcelona, ​​September 8, 2020 - The webinar prior to the Mediterranean Textile Forum (MediTex) was held on September 3 in online format with the title "Future opportunities, challenges and expectations of the textile sector in the post-COVID period". Various Mediterranean experts gathered at this event co-organised by the Izmir Chamber of Commerce and ASCAME (Association of Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry), to address the future after the pandemic of one of the key sectors for the economies of the region.

The textile sector, one of the most important industries in the world, has always been very important and widespread in the Mediterranean. It is an industry valued at 2,500 million dollars and employs more than 60 million workers throughout the production chain, being a true engine of development for the region. In 2018, exports worth 15.1 thousand million euros were made to countries of the European Union. The leading countries are Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon. About 40% of the European textile and clothing trade goes to the Mediterranean region. The vision of a bilateral development aimed at creating a fully integrated market should create a win-win situation for both sides of the Mediterranean.

The textile sector represents a high percentage of the employment generated in Mediterranean countries and, like many others, has suffered the ravages of COVID-19. For this reason, it is precisely now that it must be discussed where the future of textiles should focus and who should be the most relevant actors in this transition. To this end, several experts presented their ideas in the webinar prior to the Mediterranean Textile Forum, which took place in digital format as a prelude to the face-to-face event that is expected to be held in Izmir (Turkey).

Topics such as expectations management in the post-pandemic period, circular fashion, green textile, textile 4.0, wearable technologies, electronic textiles, technical textiles, functional fabrics or the supply chain in the fashion industry, were discussed in a forum moderated by Professor Dr. Ender Bulgun, Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts and Design at Izmir University of Economics.

The Vice President of the Izmir Chamber of Commerce, Emre Kizilgüneşler, argued that “the textile sector is one of the most important for the Turkish economy. In fact, it is the sector that generates the most employment for women after education”. In addition, he wanted to highlight the need to move towards a more innovative and sustainable textile, which is open to digital transformation and contributes to the fight against climate change.

“In the Mediterranean there has been a decrease in demand and many stores have had to close. For this reason, brands will have to rethink their supply chains and the Mediterranean will be increasingly important for European brands”, said Burak Sertbaş, Chairperson of AEGEAN Ready-To-Wear and Apparel Exporters Association. In this pandemic situation, “technical textiles are increasingly important, especially medical textiles. We have been able to export professional protection articles to the world”, he added.

On the other hand, the event addressed the Green Pact of the European Union and its implications on textiles. Bahar Güçlü, Deputy Director General of the Republic of Turkey and Ministry of Trade, International Agreements and European Union, assured that the textile sector was going to undergo some changes in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, waste reduction, recycling, circular economy, etc. He also recommended defining a green legislation that applies to the textile sector following the guidelines of the European Union, since this sector is one of the most polluting chemical products used.

The Vice President of ASCAME, Omar Moro, highlighted the textile as a strategic sector for the region. “The textile sector has been and is strategic and historical for many Mediterranean countries, such as Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon. In recent decades, the Mediterranean has positioned itself as a unique region for the textile sector, due to the efficiency of the market and its producers, the speed of communications and logistics, the infrastructure, the possibility of generating employment, the constant growth of SMEs, as well as easy access to new, high-quality textile materials”.

Omar Moro did not want to end his speech without appealing to the ‘Recovery Plan and New Economic Development Model for the Mediterranean’ that ASCAME presented a couple of months ago. “The Plan's measures aim to reactivate the regional economy, help its most affected sectors and companies and rethink the growth and sustainability model, focusing on the pillars of the Mediterranean economies: tourism, logistics, innovation, green and blue economies and SMEs. The reactivation of the textile sector occupies an important place in the Plan, given its importance in the Mediterranean”, he concluded.

 

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