Bulgarian export of clothing and textile marked growth in 2013 with exports reaching 1.8 billion euros - the highest level of Bulgarian exports since 2007. A 7 percent growth in export has been marked in comparison to 2012. Out of those 1.8 billion, export of textiles totaled â‚¬ 328 million or about 18% of the total exports of the country. In 2014 it is expected that the branch will grow further.
These results bring Bulgaria's textile industry closer again to the strongest periods and the highest levels of export before the global economic crisis.
According to Radina Bankova, Chairman of the Bulgarian Association of Apparel and Textile Producers (BAATPE), European countries remain their traditional markets as they have began again to rely on Bulgarian products. A great number of major companies have been returning to Bulgaria because of its geographical location, traditionally good relations and technological capabilities of Bulgarian enterprises.
Bulgariaâ€™s biggest export market remains Germany, followed by Italy, France, Greece and Spain. Domestic consumption is relatively small. Although in 2013 a 25% rise was marked, it remains below the level of 10 percent of total production.
There was also growth in the turnover index of the companies where the increase last year approached 10%, said Radina Bankova. This year they do not have firm and final statistics, but they assume that the results will be good. Businesses are working hard and there is a great interest in all kinds of clothes - from socks and underwear to coats.
There is very strong growth in clothing of women's and men's upper garments such as jackets, and ladies' and men's suits and trousers. In knitted things, however, things go a little slower. Companies specialized in clothing did rely almost exclusively on exports because in Bulgaria the situation still remains dire for producing for the domestic market .
The healthy development of the sector is driven by the recovery of European markets, increased outsourcing towards Southeast Europe and outflow of investors from China where the cost of labor has increased. The complicated situation in Vietnam and Bangladesh and the political crisis over the past two years in the countries of North Africa has also led to an outflow of European investors. All this means a fresh breath of air for the Bulgarian textile industry. The main issue remains the lack of workforce.
However, the West prefers Bulgarian quality clothes in front of the Cambodian and Vietnamese products as the quality of the clothing produced is normally one of the most important for most users.
Bulgaria has retained its competitiveness not only because of the low wages but the country's image of good quality products. Production of textiles and clothing is one of the traditional sectors for Bulgaria.
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