Even though Turkey’s textile sector ships to over 160 countries, three countries, namely Germany, the UK, and Spain, have managed to absorb almost half of the country’s industry. In 2020, shipments to Germany rose by 7% to $271 million, making Germany Turkey’s largest export market for ready wear. Spain has also bought $250 million worth of textile items and recorded an increase of 14%, while the UK boosted its imports from Turkey by 27% and became the third-largest export market for local garment and ready-to-wear businesses.
But this does not mean Turkey can rest assured since it still has an important rival: China. Working with China offers several advantages, such as low labor costs. However, although Turkey’s labor costs might be higher, it provides relatively higher quality than Chinese textile products and has also managed to develop its labor force in recent years.
Another advantage of Turkey is that the country can produce machinery that can produce textile. Until the 2000s, Turkish textile producers were purchasing from European countries like Italy. However, after Turkey officially entered the market, Italy lost its advantages in textile and moved its production capacity to other industries like automotive. Turkey also has a well-developed machinery industry, and its textile industry has the advantage of demanding specific machinery from local producers. Moreover, another benefit of the Turkish textile industry is that there is a high demand for designer jobs in Turkey, and compared to the other developing countries, it has gained a relatively more developed labor force in fashion nowadays.
China has invaded the textile market in many countries. However, the bad reputation of Chinese products can provide an advantage for other countries, especially Turkey. In fact, many European countries already prefer Turkish textiles over Chinese products because of quality reasons. Turkey has thus been using this advantage to gain a market share in Europe, and the export statistics of the Turkish textile industry prove this tactic is working.
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