Central Asian Textile and Clothing Suppliers on Paris Study Tour
ITC helps Tajik and Kyrgyz enterprises gain market insights
Two central Asian countries, namely Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, are looking to better understand the international textile and clothing industry thanks to assistance from the Geneva-based International Trade Centre (ITC).
A group of around 30 representatives of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the textile and clothing sectors in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan participated in a study tour to Paris organized by ITC, which included visits to the Texworld and Première Vision Pluriel International trade fairs, and to important fashion and clothing retail areas of Paris. The market study tour was organized on a cost-sharing basis with the enterprises, ensuring the ownership of results by the beneficiaries.
The aim of the tour was to improve the visitors’ understanding of key market requirements of international buyers and quality standards, and also the competition they face.
The study visit came as one of the first initiatives of a three-year ITC trade promotion project in the two countries launched in September 2009 and financed by the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). The project is contributing to the sustainable expansion and diversification of SMEs’ exports by increasing the competitiveness of textile and clothing industries in existing and new markets and improving quality management infrastructure.
“Study tours like this are central to our delivery of the Aid for Trade agenda,” commented ITC Executive Director Patricia R. Francis. “In this way we can support entrepreneurs – many of them women – in improving their knowledge and understanding of world markets, gaining insights into market developments and international trends, and understanding what is needed to sell successfully.”
Anne de Chambrier of SECO’s Economic Cooperation and Development Division commented: “I am confident that the market study visit will contribute to increasing the awareness of Tajik and Kyrgyz companies about the requirements of the international textile and clothing market and thus open the door to new exciting business opportunities. SECO fully supports this hands-on and relevant activity, as well as the professional way it was organized. The projects beneficiaries demonstrated their commitment among others through the cost-sharing principle and a strong involvement at the fairs. SECO encourages ITC to continue such targeted assistance.”
As well as getting first-hand exposure to latest trends in the industry, the study tour included opportunities for participants to learn about international practices in exhibiting products and to expand their network of business contacts.
Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are both low-income, landlocked countries. In Kyrgyzstan, the fibre, textiles and clothing sector accounts for 7.1% of industrial output and employs some 150,000 people, of whom 70% are women. Development of the textile and clothing sector is a priority of the Tajik Government, which considers the sector to have significant potential for growth and making a contribution to export diversification.