Delegates gathered in Istanbul this week to discuss challenges

Delegates gathered in Istanbul this week to discuss challenges

European and Turkish entrepreneurs, international experts, designers and policy makers have joined forces to discuss how the textile and clothing industries of both regions can tackle issues such as trade tensions, circularity and the challenges of globalisation.

The conference, which took place in Istanbul yesterday (2 October), also focused on environmental impact and digitalisation, and how such challenges can be turned into opportunities – topics delegates said are crucial for both EU and Turkish textile and clothing industries.

The event was organised by the Turkish EURATEX members – TGSD (Turkish Clothing Manufacturers' Association), TTSIS (Turkish Textile Employers' Association), IHKIB (Turkish Apparel Exporters' Association) and ITHIB (Turkish Textile & Raw Material Exporters' Association) – alongside the 12th Istanbul Fashion Conference and gathered over 500 participants.

"A strong partnership between the EU and Turkey is crucial for the future of both economic systems", stated EURATEX president Alberto Paccanelli, also stressing how "a modernised Customs Union between the EU and Turkey can give a fresh boost to our relations, with mutual benefits."

Panels, testimonials and presentations allowed participants to have an overview of the sector in Turkey, and opportunities for collaboration both locally and internationally.

Under its new Director General Dirk Vantyghem, EURATEX aims at addressing trade barriers and bureaucracy between Turkey and the EU, and at creating a favourable environment for investments in digitalisation, sustainability practices, skills and education programmes.

Last month, addressing the 10th UK-Turkey business forum in Istanbul, Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan explained that should the UK leave the European Union without a deal, trade between the two countries would be affected. Overall, Turkey's exports to the UK, she said, would drop between $2.4-3bn.

Turkey could stand to lose US$1.3bn in garment exports to the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit.