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Jozef De Coster

Articles by Jozef De Coster

Turkish denim giant Taypa is  on an expansion driveTurkish textile and clothing exporters in bullish mood 1 May 2018

At first glance, the future looks bright for the Turkish economy in general, and the textile and garment manufacturing sector in particular. During the recent Istanbul Yarn Expo there was optimistic talk of growth and progress, with machinery suppliers at the neighbouring ITM fair confirming that Turkish investments are on the rise. But there are concerns, too, as Jozef De Coster reports.

Garment exporters seeking European orders attend Apparel Sourcing ParisEmerging countries struggle to grow EU market share 11 April 2018

Garment exporters in developing countries are being actively encouraged to seek European orders through various trade agreements, government policies and foreign assistance. But there is also frustration that successful export countries continue to enjoy preferential treatment.

Myanmar's garment exports tripled from US$0.9bn in 2012 to US$2.7bn in 2017Myanmar facing hurdles in garment industry growth 12 January 2018

A few years ago, optimistic observers believed that by 2020 the Myanmar garment industry would employ 1.5m people and generate US$10-12bn in exports. With this date now looming, such performance seems out of the question. Even attaining these figures in 2024, the new target date, seems overly ambitious. Jozef De Coster looks at some of the challenges facing the sector.

Unregistered Syrian refugees working in Turkish factories is a key issued for European brands and retailersHard hit Turkish industry is not knocked out 21 February 2017

After a number of setbacks last year, including political upheaval, terrorist attacks and an influx of Syrian refugees, textile and clothing industry executives in Turkey are optimistic that better times lie ahead in 2017.

Ciel Textile's Tropic Knits produces 12m T-shirts and polo shirts per year in Mauritius and MadagascarMadagascar back on the apparel sourcing radar 22 November 2016

The devastating impact that political instability and the loss of trade benefits can have on an apparel manufacturing country is exemplified by Madagascar, the island off the southeast coast of Africa that all but fell off the sourcing radar when it lost its duty-free privileges to the United States at the beginning of 2010. But a change of fortunes in the last two years is now seeing its apparel exports bounce back with a vengeance.

Madagascar's President Hery Rajaonarimampianina (centre) opened this year's Origin Africa sourcing eventOrigin Africa highlights apparel sourcing ambitions 21 November 2016

Last year all eyes at Origin Africa were on host country Ethiopia as an emerging sourcing hub for international apparel groups. This year attention switched to the return of Madagascar to the apparel export stage, with the island nation off the southeast coast of Africa bouncing back after the US reinstated its AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act) beneficiary status in 2014.

Despite rising exports, Cambodia's garment industry is trying to juggle higher wages, falling profits and the need for more productivity Cambodia garment sector faces ongoing challenges 12 September 2016

At first glance, Cambodia's garment sector is doing fine. ANZ Bank recently predicted 7.2% GDP growth in 2016, mainly fuelled by rising clothing exports. And just-released data from the International Labour Organization (ILO) points to a 14.7% jump in the country's clothing shipments to US$1.605bn during the first quarter of this year. But dig deeper, and it seems the overall situation of the Cambodian garment industry is less optimistic.

Brands and retailers face enormous pressure to offer more sustainable products, faster and cheaperRetailers struggle to shift from cheap and fast to sustainable 8 June 2016

The Foreign Trade Association's inaugural Sustainability Conference has highlighted the need for cooperation and dialogue throughout the supply chain to achieve tangible results and long-lasting improvements in human rights, environment and trade policy. And, as Jozef De Coster reports, it also heard how European retailers are struggling to transition from cheap and fast to sustainable.

Egypt's ready-made garment exports have fallen from US$1.55bn in 2012 to US$1.35bn in 2015Egypt apparel sector underperforming but ambitious 30 March 2016

With advantages that include the best cotton in the world, thousands of textile and garment factories, low labour costs and duty-free access to key markets in the US, European Union (EU), the Middle-East and Africa, Egypt should have formidable potential. But at the same time it's facing a mountain of problems, including low labour productivity, lack of investments in ginning, spinning and weaving, difficult access to finance, and poor infrastructure.

Hungary offers a mix of strengths and weaknesses 26 November 2015

As a textile and clothing producer, Hungary offers a mix of the traditional and high-tech, ranging from fabric makers supplying the automotive and other advanced industries, to medium-sized CMT-manufacturers (often owned by, or working for, German and other foreign apparel groups) and a number of small fashion brands.

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