Switzerland and Egypt step up partnership to boost textile and clothing exports
(Cairo/Geneva) – Egypt’s Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Swiss Confederation today announced the scaling up of collaboration to strengthen the competitiveness of textiles and clothing producers in Egypt. The goal is to boost exports, create jobs and raise incomes. The partnership was formalized by Egypt’s Minister for Trade and Industry Mr. Amr Nassar, Minister of Trade and Industry, and Mr. Paul Garnier, Ambassador of Switzerland to Egypt, in Cairo on the 22 September 2019.
The new initiative – Egypt: Improving the International Competitiveness of the Textile and Clothing Sector – forms part of the three-year Global Textiles and Clothing (GTEX) programme, funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), which is being implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC). It will also be aligned with the Textiles and Clothing Programme for Selected Middle East and North African countries (MENATEX) programme, which is funded by Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA). The new project aims to support Egypt to build a sustainable export-oriented sector with increased sales to traditional and new markets, with a focus on creating long-term and sustainable employment, particularly for women and young people.
The project will be implemented by the International Trade Centre in close partnership with the Egyptian Textiles, Apparel & Home Textiles (TA&HT) Export Council.
‘We are pleased to start this innovative programme in cooperation with ITC and Egypt’s Ministry of Trade and Industry,’ Ambassador Garnier said. ‘Egypt’s textile and clothing sector faces many challenges but has enormous potential to expand, and provide jobs and income for thousands of people. We look forward to supporting the country in realizing its potential in this important sector.’
Eng. Magdy Tolba, Chairman of the Egyptian Textiles, Apparel & Home Textiles Export Council, said: ‘Egypt has untapped potential in our traditional US market while we also want to expand our presence in Europe, in the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, and in Africa.’
’The project will provide us with technical and operational knowhow, which will help in building capacity of factories as well as in accessing new technology and new trends to improve the quality our products, and thus increasing the competitiveness of the Egyptian textile and clothing sector. All this will serve in achieving the council’s goals, which are building capacity, doubling the exports and technology transformation. We are looking forward to a close collaboration with Switzerland and ITC in achieving this,’ he said
To achieve lasting improvements in the textile and clothing sector’s export competitiveness, the project will focus on bolstering the capacities of national institutions and training centers to help them better support local businesses with export-related needs. Central to this will be improving the internal management processes and service portfolio development of participating companies. The project will also work directly with domestic enterprises, providing advisory services, training and coaching designed to help firms move up the value chain, from cutting and sewing to fabric sourcing, product and design development and branding.
Matthias Knappe, Programme Manager for fibres, textiles and clothing at ITC, said that the project addresses the most pressing needs faced by Egyptian textile and clothing companies. ‘With support provided to both enterprises and key support institutions, we expect results leading to long-term exports and employment opportunities,’ he said. ‘One innovative feature of the project will be strengthening collaboration between larger exporting companies and smaller companies located in rural areas to create jobs where people live and to reduce job-related commuting requirements”.
In 2017, global trade in textiles and clothing was worth an estimated $751 billion. Egypt accounted $2.8 billion worth of clothing and textile exports, mostly to the United States.
The Egypt: Improving the International Competitiveness of the Textile and Clothing Sector project is aligned with several of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls), and Goal 9 (Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation).
Note to the Editor:
About ITC - The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
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International Trade Centre
Jarle Hetland, Media Officer
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International Trade Centre
Matthias Knappe, GTEX Programme Manager
P: +41 22 730 0321
E: knappe [at] intracen.org