Turkey's apparel exports saw a slight decline in January compared with a year earlier, according to new figures shared by the Istanbul Apparel Exporters' Association (IHKIB).

For January 2019, Turkey's apparel and ready-made garment exports stood at US$1.4bn, 0.4% lower than the same month last year. The EU was the biggest market for garment exports, accounting for 72.1% of the total. Exports to Germany rose 10.4% to US$271.9m and increased 7% to Spain at US$175.5m. However, exports to the UK fell 4.8% to US$147.5m.

Last month IHKIB president Mustafa Gultepe said Turkey is eyeing a 10% increase in apparel exports for 2019.

According to the re:source by just-style strategic planning tool, Turkey is amongst the world's top ten clothing and textile exporters thanks to its high quality, proximity to Europe and Asia, skilled labour, and a well-developed domestic supply chain.

The country currently enjoys duty-free access to the European Union through Euro-Mediterranean Economic Partnership Agreement. However, its textile and clothing exports to the UK would be dealt a "severe hit" in the event of a No-Deal Brexit with the EU.

Another potential source of risk and opportunity for the industry is China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Touted by Beijing as a 'win-win' for all involved in the sprawling infrastructure project that connects the Far East with Europe – experts recently told just-style that it could be a double-edged sword for Turkey's textile and garment sector.