By  on January 25, 2005

NEW YORK — There is a theme to Turkish textile companies’ strategies for the post-quota era — avoid going head-to-head with China.

Exhibitors at the Turkish Fashion Fabric Exhibition here last week said they haven’t seen a shift in their business as a result of the end of worldwide quotas on Jan. 1. But they attributed that mainly to the small period of time that has passed.

“It hasn’t been a month yet,” said Nilsu Denktas, a marketing executive with Yünsa, a textile division of the Istanbul-based Sanabci Group.

From one perspective, Denktas said, lifting quotas may improve her business. “It makes things easier for the buyer and the seller,” she said. “It’s one less thing to worry about.”

Other executives said that, while it removes a paperwork hurdle, the end of the system means that Turkish mills will face unrestrained competition with competitors in China and the Far East.

Recott, an Istanbul-based fabric and garment maker, joined the 49 firms exhibiting at the show for the first time as part of a bid to do more direct business with U.S. customers, said sales manager M. Sair Kakirli. The mill’s primary customer base is in Europe, though Kakirli said with quotas lifted, he wanted to diversify.

“A lot of the European business is shifting to China,” Kakirli said. He acknowledged that phenomenon also is taking place in the U.S., but said the $160 million company believes the size of the U.S. market means “there is still business to go around.”

“The U.S. is a consumption market,” he said. “In Germany, people aren’t spending. They’re saving their money. In the U.S., people are still buying.”

For the year ended Nov. 30, Turkish apparel and textile makers shipped $1.75 billion worth of their wares to the U.S., a 0.9 percent increase, giving the nation 2.1 percent share of the import sector. That compares with $14.43 billion in Chinese shipments, a 25.8 percent rise.

Several exhibitors said they were adopting a strategy developed by Far Eastern companies and offering full-package garment production services, either manufacturing garments in company-owned plants or contracting the work out to other suppliers.

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