Translated by
Nicola Mira
May 25, 2022
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Euratex association hails “encouraging” fiscal 2021

Translated by
Nicola Mira
May 25, 2022

In 2021, the European textile and apparel industry managed to reduce its aggregate trade deficit to €48 billion, thanks to a 10.6% increase in exports and a 7.5% drop in imports. A result that was judged as encouraging by Euratex, the industry’s Europe-wide association, which has just published its 2022 spring report. Euratex mentioned that many factors of instability still exist however, from Brexit to the invasion of Ukraine and rising transport costs.


“The 2021 export figures, presented in this Spring report, confirm that Euratex members have gained momentum,” said the association’s director general, Dirk Vantyghem. “Even though energy prices are causing some serious short-term disruption, our long-term ambition remains to be a world leader in sustainable textiles,” he added.

In the report, Euratex indicated there was a slight decline in apparel import prices, and a sharper one in prices for textile imports. The latter downturn was largely due to a price drop for imports of surgical masks and PPE products from China, whose prices had skyrocketed the previous year.

In terms of exports, Switzerland, China and the USA were the main drivers in fiscal 2021. Euratex also noted there was a 23% fall in European textile-apparel exports to the UK. The fall was Brexit-related, caused by “customs delays and a shortage of truck drivers” in the UK. The same Brexit effect also had an impact on European imports. Textile-apparel shipments from the UK fell by 48% in one year, for a loss of €3 billion. Euratex also observed a 28% slump in the value of products coming from China. The EU's largest textiles and apparel supplier lost €13 billion.

Ukraine was naturally also mentioned in the report. Euratex stated that the country “offers valuable sourcing opportunities for European textile and apparel brands” aiming to source their products closer to home, adopting a practice known as nearshoring. The association noted that industry figures revealed increasing evidence of a trend towards proximity production.

The Euratex report devoted ample space to the project called ‘Sustainable and Circular Textiles by 2030’, unveiled by the European Commission on March 30. The project’s goal is that all textile products commercialised in the EU should, by the end of the decade, be sustainable, free of dangerous substances and produced in accordance with ethical regulations.

“With €100 billion of imports, and over €20 billion of ‘foreign’ textile products put on the [EU’s] single market, this requires a dramatic upscaling in market surveillance, without however disrupting fluid supply chains,” said Euratex. The association is continuing to develop its European hub dedicated to textile recycling.

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