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Jozef De Coster

Articles by Jozef De Coster

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.

Swedfund is helping to develop a responsible textile industry in EthiopiaAll eyes on Ethiopia as an emerging sourcing hub 28 October 2015

There has been a big buzz around Ethiopia as a potential source of apparel for at least the last five years – yet disappointingly small exports of just US$112m in 2014. But that could finally be set to change, as Jozef De Coster reports from last week’s 'Origin Africa' event in Addis Ababa.

Several international groups are expanding their production capabilities in EthiopiaEthiopia textile and apparel investments accelerate 28 October 2015

From fast-growing textile hub Mekele to expansion plans by several international groups to expand their production capabilities in Ethiopia, the scale of current and planned investments in the country appears to be accelerating. Jozef De Coster reports from last week’s 'Origin Africa' event in Addis Ababa.

Khine Khine Nwe discusses production process management with a group of supervisors at MGMA's training institute. (Photo credit: The Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association)Factory funding gap has mixed impact in Myanmar 21 July 2015

Myanmar’s garment export industry as a whole is developing rapidly. But the battle for growth and added value is heavily weighted against the mostly small local manufacturers who face tough competition from an increasing number of foreign investors with deep pockets and strong networks, writes Jozef De Coster.

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