Portuguese textile: a challenging industry

ATP, the Textile and Clothing Association of Portugal will organise a conference under the theme “The rebirth of Portuguese Textiles: an example of best practices” on 11 May at the European Parliament. A good opportunity to have a general overview of a (re)growing sector.

What do you think about textile industry in Europe? You might answer it is a fragile sector, as most of the clothes you are used to purchasing probably come from developing countries. Surprisingly, the European textile industry is not doing too bad today.

Made in Europe

Portuguese état des lieux

Textile industry represents about 10% of national exports in Portugal, as well as 2% of the national GDP and 4% of the employees. It is then a significant sector in the Country. As some European countries, the Portuguese textile industry has a high added value and “Made in Portugal” refers to hugh-quality products.

Portugal is however not the only country in the EU with a strong textile and clothing (T&C) industry. It indeed only represents 4% of the EU T&C Industry, which means other EU countries are powerful. Italy, Germany and France for instance account for 35%, 14% and 10% of the EU turnover.

Although textile is not going bad, everything is of course not perfect. Domestic market is indeed very fragile and depressed and it therefore highly relies on exportations. Productivity is moreover still low in comparative terms (developing countries have cheaper workforce) and entrepreneurship is not that competitive and attractive, according to ATP. These issues are quite the same across the whole continent, as economy more and more relies on services, while industry is a major asset for developing countries.

The European textile industry, as well as the European industry, will face key challenges over the upcoming years and decades. It should manage the issue of reindustrialisation and specialisation as well as it needs to compete with the emerging countries in terms of productivity, innovation and education. It also should address energy targets and new consumption trends. ATP has then identified a list of 7 strategic priorities for the Portuguese textile industry, which can be applied to the whole European chain.

All these concerns, challenges and potential solutions will presented in two weeks during the 11 May conference. Brussels Express is glad to be the media partner and invites you to attend the discussion.