Spain will extend its textiles aid programme this year and spend EUR214m (US$286.5m) to help ailing textile companies hit by the country’s recession.

"This important and historic budget effort will continue in 2010 through several programmes to support the industry’s companies and workers," said Industry, Tourism and Commerce Minister Miguel Sebastian.

Sebastian acknowledged the industry has been under strain since global textile liberalisation in 2005, the Euro’s strengthening and the slumping world and Spanish economy.

In 2009, domestic textile sales fell 8.4%, two points more than in 2008, as consumption plunged in the country’s deep recession. Export markets also floundered and many textile firms went bankrupt.

Under the aid package, which has been offered for the past four years, companies will benefit from a EUR150m credit line from the government’s Institute of Credit (ICO) as well as from a EUR64m “re-industralisation” plan.

The plan also features a foreign promotion scheme in which the state will invest EUR7m to help find new “Made in Spain” export markets for national apparel producers.

Overall, the government said the package will benefit 550 companies, 340 of which are fashion apparel producers, 150 textile makers and 60 homewear purveyors.