Peru wants to build the international presence of its textile and apparel sector

Peru wants to build the international presence of its textile and apparel sector

Peru plans to double its textile and apparel exports by 2017 and invest over $60m to promote its key designer brands in international markets. 

The goal is part of the South American country's efforts to also double total exports in the fiscal period of July 2011 to July 2016. Apart from promoting its exports abroad, the country is also looking to strike free trade deals with Australia, Brazil and Russia in the near term. 

Together with agro-foods, textiles and apparel make up 60% of Peru's value-added exports, which have grown faster than commodity ones in the past four years, according to Luis Torres Paz, promotion director at Peruvian export agency PromPeru.

Value-added exports totalled $11bn last year, of which $2.2bn came from textiles, apparel and footwear.  

As Peru works to promote itself in new markets in the US, Europe and Asia, Torres said exports should double to $4.4bn by 2017.

Roughly 45% of foreign textile and apparel sales go the US, 35% to Venezuela, 15% to Brazil, Mexico and Colombia and 5% to other markets. 

Speaking on the sidelines of the PeruModa textiles trade fair held in Lima earlier this month, Torres said Peru is keen to consolidate in key Latin American markets by 2015 before moving to China and Japan with "great intensity" in 2015-17.

Exports to Asia have been growing 15% a year, he added. However, he acknowledged Peruvian companies have a much work to do before entering Asia.

"We have to build stronger brands before we move to those markets or we could be displaced by highly competitive Vietnamese and Bangladeshi [-made] brands which have cashmere and innovative cotton fabrics that can compete with Peru."

Designer-investment plan
According to Torres, the $60m designer-investment plan compares with just $4m earmarked for this process in the past five years.

"We want to internationalise our high-end pima cotton, vicuna and alpaca brands," Torres said. "To do this, we realise we need to invest to help these brands build an international presence, including the designers behind them."

Torres said Promperu and Peru's Production Ministry will team with private investors to finance the global expansion of a string of established and emerging designer brands. Such trademarks include Kuna and Michelle Belau, in addition to those being created by emerging star designers Meche Correa, Sergio Davila, Jose Valdivia, Harumi Mamoto and Sumy Kujon. 

Peru will work to promote these designers in trade fairs around the world. At the same time, it will help them build and finance a production and sourcing platform as "they currently don't have the capacity to meet large orders," Torres said.

Peru also wants to enter new markets by participating in trade shows where the designers will be able to show their collections on the runway. It will also strike commercial alliances with shopping malls to launch promotion campaigns enabling designers to show their best cotton, vicuna and alpaca wears. The strategy calls for these designers to eventually open mall boutiques. 

Torres highlighted Dunkenvolk as the type of success story other Peruvian brands aspire to. The chain of sports and beachwear has 10 global stores, three of which are in China. 

"They have done a great job at promoting the quality of Peruvian cotton and Peruvian beaches as a tourism destination," Torres said. "We hope the other brands will be able to do something similar." 

Torres said Michelle Belau, Sergio Davila and a partnership between Meche Correa and Jose Valdivia could open shops in Brazilian malls by year end.

Torres said the $60m will come partly from PromPeru, the Production Ministry and private investors.