EU Commission: Skills for Jobs in the EU Textile and Clothing Industry to Evolve

In a recent analysis report, the EU Commission foresees that skills needed by jobs in the EU textile and clothing industry will continue to evolve from 2013 to 2025. Specifically, the report argues that:

First, employment in the EU textile and clothing sector is forecast to decline by 13.4% from 2.5 million in 2013 to 2.1million in 2025. Even with shrinking employment levels, because of the need to replace nearly 1 million workers forecast to retire or leave the sector, about 611,000 job openings are anticipated from 2013 to 2025.

Second, employment in the EU textile and clothing sector is no just declined, but also evolved. From 2013 to 2025, demand for “crafted and related occupations” as well as “plant and machine operators and assemblers” will decline 34% and 13% respectively, whereas job openings for “technician and associated professional occupations” are estimated to grow at a modest rate. Among the estimated 611,000 job openings, 93% will require high or medium level qualifications.

Third, in terms of specific skills needed by the EU textile and clothing sector based on where the sector might progress towards 2020:

1) Technical production competencies will remain central to recruitment with increased focus on the demand for versatile staffs that can operate across different workstations.

2) Supply chain management, business, sales and marketing skills (including the skills in international trade) are growing in importance. For many EU textile and clothing companies, “trade has taken place of production”.

3) The EU textile and clothing industry is further expecting skills on technology, innovation and sustainability. Leading technology-led areas include mass customization, 3D body measurement, advanced CAD and eCommerce technologies, internet infrastructures for custom-tailored clothing and business-to-consumer eCommerce among retailers.

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UNCTAD: Sharp Rise of Greenfield FDI in the Textile and Apparel Industry Worldwide from 2012 to 2013

According to the 2014 World Investment Report released this week by the United Nation Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), a sharp rise in greenfield foreign direct investment (FDI)* activity was observed in the textile and apparel (T&A) industry worldwide from 2012 to 2013, with the value of announced investment projects totaling more than $24 billion, more than doubled than the level a year earlier.

Although detailed country-level data is not available, the UNCTAD report shows that the developed countries as a whole attracted $13.7 billion inflows of greenfield FDI and invested $18.7 billion greenfield FDI overseas in the T&A industry from 2012 to 2013. The report further says that Cambodia and Myanmar, the two least developed countries in South-East Asia, have recently emerged as attractive locations for investment in textiles, garments and footwear.

FDI is another critical format of market access in addition to international trade.

*Note: Greenfield FDI means a foreign company opens a new physical facility from which to conduct business.

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2014 USFIA Benchmarking Study Released

UntitledKey Findings

  • China will remain the dominant supplier, though Vietnam and Asia as a whole are seen as having more growth potential.
  • Companies aren’t leaving Bangladesh, and are committed to compliance.
  • Companies continue to look for opportunities closer to home, including the United States, as they diversify their sourcing.
  • Companies are diversifying their sourcing and expect to continue to do so. However, current FTAs and preference programs remain under-utilized or don’t represent a major component of respondents’ sourcing.
  • Respondents welcome the passage or renewal of all future trade agreements that intend to remove trade barriers and facilitate international trade in the industry.

About the Benchmarking Study
The 2014 USFIA benchmarking study is conducted based on a survey of 29 executives at 29 leading U.S. fashion companies from March to April 2014. The study incorporates a balanced mix of respondents representing various business types in the U.S. fashion industry, including retailers, importers, wholesalers, and manufacturers. The survey asked respondents about the business outlook, sourcing practices, utilization of Free Trade Agreements and preference programs, and views on trade policy.

The full study can be downloaded from HERE.

Euratex Releases Key Indicators of the EU Textile and Apparel Industry in 2013

In its annual release, the European Apparel and Textile Federation (Euratex) provides a skeletal statistical profile of the EU textile and apparel (T&A) in 2013. Most statistics cited in the report comes from the Eurostat.

Production
In 2013, T&A production in EU overall remains stable. Output of Man-made fiber (MMF) enjoyed a 6.8 percent growth from a year earlier, although production of textile (yarns, fabrics and made-ups) and apparel respectively declined 0.1 percent and 4.2 percent.  Accumulatively, from 2010 to 2013, production of MMF, textile and apparel in EU has down 15.2 percent, 8.1 percent and 13.3 percent respectively.

Employment
Employment in the EU T&A industry continues to move downward in size, shrinking from 1.73 million in 2012 to 1.64 million in 2013. The most significant drop happened in the apparel subsector, which suffered a 4 percent job loss from 2012 to 2013. The number of employment in the textile and MMF subsectors goes down 3.7 percent and 1 percent respectively.

Consumption
Affected by the slow economic recovery in the region, EU consumers seem still hesitant in expending more money on T&A products in 2013. Value of T&A consumption in EU (28) stood at €483.9 billion in 2013, only a slight increase of 0.2 percent from 2012.

Trade
The two-way EU T&A trade enjoyed a modest growth from 2012 to 2013. Particularly, despite reported decline in production, value of EU apparel exports in 2013 increased 4 percent, reflecting the growing demand for “made in EU” apparel products in other parts of the world. In terms of import, consistent with the pattern of consumption, EU apparel imports slightly increased 1.7 percent from 2012 to 2013. It should be noted that China is gradually losing market share in the EU apparel import market. From 2012 to 2013, value of China’s apparel exports to the EU declined 4 percent, compared with 10 percent growth of Bangladesh.

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