Turkey's textile and the ready-to-wear industry currently employs more than 1 million people, Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan revealed Saturday as the industry experiences a recent boost due to global production shifts to the country from China over the coronavirus outbreak.
Speaking at a meeting organized by the Istanbul Textile and Apparel Exporters Association (İHKİB), Pekcan said the textile and its sub-sectors are now employing a total of 1.67 million people, adding that this number will be rising in the upcoming years as a result of new investments and rising exports.
The minister emphasized that the textile industry was one of Turkey's key engines of growth and innovation that create added value.
"Despite the protectionist inclinations of current global trade, the Turkish textile industry has managed to preserve and improve its position in the international market thanks to its strong internal dynamics, innovative branding and design ideas," Pekcan said.
She said Turkey's advantages included a skilled workforce, competitiveness and high manufacturing, service and supply flexibility due to its geographic position.
Turkey exported some $17.7 billion ready-to-wear products last year. Turkish manufacturers are now looking to catch the window of opportunity created by coronavirus-hit China, which is expected to experience production delays for five-six months this year.
According to experts, Turkey's garment exports are projected to rise by 10% due to the outbreak.
İHKİB head Mustafa Gültepe said the sector had the capacity to take on additional orders as both new and existing clients increasingly contact Turkish factories.
The trade minister added that Turkey is now looking to shift its production up-market not only in the clothing sector but in other manufacturing industries as well: "Our goal is no longer to sell cheaply but to sell high-quality products with added value."
She said her ministry was working together with the private sector to increase added value to exports and introduce innovative products.
Turkey's apparel looks to increase its exports to $19 billion in 2020.
According to İHKİB, the sector had a 10.1% share in the country's overall exports of $14.8 billion in January 2020, reaching an export figure of $1.5 billion, up by 5.8% in the same month last year. Nearly 73.4% of exports were made to EU countries, with Germany and Spain being the main destinations.
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