Textile and Apparel industry has a great contribution to the Turkish economy. The industry has been denominated as the locomotive of the Turkish Economy for years. Turkey’s textile and apparel exports continued rising recently after began falling in January, with elimination of EU and US quotas.
The industrialisation efforts of the 60’s and 70’s gave birth to the modern textile industry in Turkey. At the beginning, this sector was operating as small workshops. But the sector showed rapid development and during the 1970’s began exporting. Today, Turkey is one of the important textile and clothing producers and exporters in the world.
Turkey’s textile and clothing manufacturers began relocating production in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In the last three years, Turkish textile and apparel companies faced raising difficulties, after having substantially succeeded in the eighties and the first part of the nineties.
Chinese textile exports after a decades-old quota PERFORMANCE FABRIC system limits ends on January 1, 2005 and the World Trade Organization believes that within three years the Asian giant could be producing over half of the world s textiles, up from 17% in 2003.
The end of the quota regime has spawned fears of widespread job losses around the world, including in Turkey, whose own textiles and apparel exports stand at around $20 billion a year.
Thus, it is necessary to understand the Turkish textile and apparel sector, the weakness and the strength it has in the World market.
The textile and apparel sector has been the backbone of the Turkish economy with a vital role to play in the industrialisation process and market orientation of the economy in the last two decades. In the 1980s, it was the leading sector related to the global economy and the export revenues of this hard currency earning sector contributed substantially to the overall economy. The textile sector continued to be one of the major contributors to the Turkish economy, being one of the fastest growing sectors in the 1990s with an average 12.2% annual growth, while the Turkish economy had an average growth of 5.2% per year. Total investment in the sector exceeded US$ 150 billion, of which more than US$ 50 billion was invested in the last 5-10 years.
Textile industry started out in the 1960s in small workshops, have rapidly developed and transformed Turkey into a global competitor.
The total number of firms in the sector, dominated (95%) by the private sector, number around 44,000 and 25% of them are active exporters. The apparel industry is constituted mainly (80%) of small and medium sized firms whereas the technology-intensive textile production has been undertaken by large-scale companies. Today, around 20% of Turkey’s 500 largest companies are involved in the textiles and apparel sector.
Low labor costs, a qualified workforce, relatively cheap raw materials have played an important role in the significant growth of the sector; as well as a liberalized economic environment and export-led policies in the last two decades.