2015 was a year in which both our exports and Turkey in general could not gain acceleration as much as they intended due to negative developments in global conjuncture. We see that upward trend ongoing in recent years was broken off in
2015 and there was a decline of 8,7% compared to the previous year in accordance with this year’s total export of 144 billion dollars.In this fall, of course, factors such as political fluctuations, relations with our neighbors and the decline in the purchasing power in Russia in parallel with the fall in oil and natural gas prices played a part. As for the textile and raw materials industry, we completed 2015 with a highly significant export figure of 8 billion dollars, though it was under what we had aimed at. In other words, Turkish textile industry exported a container every two minutes.
We could not gain sufficient acceleration due to limited foreign demand. In that sense, the textile industry, as well as the other export items was affected adversely. We also need to lay emphasis on the parity effect as a significant factor over the fall in our exports. Depreciation of the currency of our main export markets (European Union, Middle East and North Africa, Russia) and the Turkish lira against dollar was the greatest factor over the decline in our export which we value in dollars.
However, considering that crises bring along opportunities as well, I believe that there will be recovery in 2016.
Turkish textile industry in 2016
The global uncertainties and political tensions in our region will be compelling factors also in 2016. Nevertheless, I can say that, I believe, we will have better growth and export performance compared to 2015.
As you know, as the Turkish textile industry, we aim at reaching an export rate with a value of 20 billion dollars by 2023. As for 2016, I believe that we will first achieve the export value in 2015 and then an increase of 10%. Looking back on 2015, we see that markets like Iran and USA stood out as promising markets for our industry while we were having various negativities in terms of export. We are aware that these markets will create a surplus value in the coming years.
For our market strategy which we work on as the whole industry, we pay regard to the effects of speeding free trade and investment agreements as well as of creating new markets over determining the road map for the industry. Furthermore, also the fall in import demands of the countries generating income from those industries in a period in which energy and commodity prices are expected to decline is another point to take into consideration for 2016.
Despite all the negativities, we see that investments in our industry still continue and, with the intention to make investments, this year lots of participants from our industry visited ITMA exhibition held every four years.
Accordingly, though 2015 seems to be negative by figures, it has created an environment offering potential of investments and exports for the upcoming years and our 2023 vision and our industry maintained its export-oriented dynamic structure also in this year.
Road Map for 2016
We are preparing tangible projects particularly for the USA market in 2016. Our goal and expectation is to transform the regression in export into an increase. For this purpose, we pay special attention to the other markets with rising-potentials as well as EU and Russia. In addition to promotional and commercial activities that we plan to carry out for USA in 2016, we also repeat the committee we created for Iran in 2015 and our goals and activities for Japan are also in progress. In 2016 we will also search for methods to regain East-European countries where we experienced losses in market and failed to make complete use of their potential such as Ukraine and Belarus as well as Russia. Because with the recovery of crisis environment in these countries, we believe that new opportunities will appear for the Turkish textile industry. On the other hand, we have concerns about the current political crisis with Russia and wish our relations to be normalized at once.
I can say that another development in 2015 was the cooperation agreement made with ITA Aachen for the development of the Turkish technical textile industry, which takes an important place among the 2023 goals. This cooperation is an indicator for new developments in the Turkish technical textile industry in both 2016 and the following years.
Technical textiles and nonwovens industry in Turkey
Investments in the industry of technical textiles and nonwovens in Turkey rapidly increase. So much so that the industry achieving a growth of almost 15% in 2015 has become the sub-sector with the fastest-growing investment and production. Our export of technical textiles in 2015 amounted to 1,5 billion dollars. There are some certain fields in the developing industry of technical textiles in which we are highly competitive. As the industry, we aim at giving weight to investments in those fields where we are competitive and at boosting our industry in those with high export rates.
For example, we have developing infrastructure for manufacturing products such as impregnated, smeared and coated fabrics. Additionally, we have a globally competitive position in certain categories like tire cords, metalized yarns, bags and sacks.
On the other hand, though there is a significant market in ready-made garment products made of technical textile materials, our competitiveness is unfortunately far from satisfying our expectations. We believe that the Turkish technical textile sector will position itself depending on the increasing trade and market volume and further increase its competitiveness in each sub-sectors.
Comprehensive service for Turkish textile and technical textile industry through the cooperation with ITA Istanbul and ITA Aachen
I think our industry’s cooperation agreement with ITA Aachen with the purpose of meeting the need for new investments and R&D activities for further progress of Turkey in technical textiles can be regarded as an important development.
We intend to provide comprehensive service for Turkish textile and technical textile industry through the cooperation with ITA Istanbul and ITA Aachen. Solution partnerships will be offered for the industry within the short, medium and long-term road maps through testing services, training, basic R&D and applied R&D activities. In accordance with both current and future requirements of textile and technical textile markets, leading the industry into success through our innovative and economic solutions is our main purpose. For this, there will be contributions towards training first intermediary staff and then specialists with master and doctoral degree. Our training programs will appeal both to university students and industry employees. In a wide context, projects for national and international partnership with Turkey-wide universities and industrialists will be created and put into practice.
I hope that the first solid reflection of the cooperation initiated with ITA Aachen will be the use of technical textiles in the construction industry. Within the scope of this cooperation, we aspire to use technical textiles to build structures resistant to earthquake and other natural disasters in partnership with Turkish – German and Greek R&D centers for textile. Moreover for the upcoming period, I would also like to indicate that holding an international conference on technical textiles in Istanbul simultaneously with our 11th Fabric Design Contest is among our plans. We work hard on this issue. R&D and innovation are among the issues on which we put excessive emphasis. I could gladly say that our industry also attaches special importance to the issue and lots of textile manufacturers and exporters today have their own R&D departments. This trend in the industry rapidly increases. Nonetheless, while considering the industry, it should be kept in mind that the textile industry is one whose investment costs are relatively high. Besides, the share of foreign investment in the Turkish textile industry in general is at a low level. It is important to carefully design and promote all the activities that will carry our industry further since it is a national sector of our country.
ITM 2016 and HIGHTEX 2016 Exhibitions
Within the last thirty years, Turkey has proven itself and risen up to an important level worldwide in the production of conventional textile products and fabrics for ready-made garments and home textiles.
Considering the elements such as investment costs and know-how in the technical textile industry, we can now see more clearly that it has also advanced to a significant position.
ITM 2016 International Textile Machinery Exhibition and HIGHTEX 2016 International Exhibition for Technical Textiles and Nonwovens are exhibitions which our industry closely follows and supports. We believe that ITM 2016 and HIGHTEX 2016 exhibitions, the gathering point for the textile technical textile industry, will rise in importance with the increase in the industry’s capacity of production and investment and being included more comprehensively in the global value chain.