Plans to increase the production of nonwovens and technical textiles has the potential to fortify the textile market in Belarus and make it a new hub for European textile production. Mogilevkhimvolokno, a textile company and the largest European producer of polyester yarns and fibres, recently announced their intention to create a new industrial cluster. The first stage of this project will focus on the production and processing of technical yarns, while the second stage will focus on the production of products intended for export. This new cluster will also house research and development facilities for the testing and design of new products, and will operate from the processing of raw materials to the production of final products. Production from the cluster will be exported primarily to North America and Europe with a special focus on Germany, where the demand for technical textiles has increased substantially over the last few years.
Textile manufacturing accounts for roughly 3%-4% of Belarus’s total industrial production, and provides a great number of jobs. In recent years, however, the textile industry in the country has struggled, primarily due to heated competition between clothing and textile vendors and street vendors. Cheaper imports from Russia and smuggling of counterfeit products have also been detrimental to the market’s potential. Though imposing stricter regulations on street vendors and small vendors has brought some improvements to the market, it has proven fatal for small textile companies. As a result, most of the roughly 300 Belarusian textile companies that exist today are state-owned.
The increased production that Mogilevkhimvolokno’s new project will provide is expected to contribute significantly to the overall success of Belarus’s textile industry and technical textiles, and will open new doors and opportunities for other textile manufacturers in the country. Additionally, cooperation between Belarus and Pakistan in the textile industry will help to increase Belarus’s chances for success. According to Belarus News, Belarusian textile company Polesye signed a contract in 2016 to supply 540 tons of yarn to Pakistani partners. This contract is worth BYR 2 million a year. Other textile companies are expected to follow in Polesye’s footsteps and establish contracts and agreements with companies in Pakistan in order to capitalize on the growing demand for yarn and technical textiles in Pakistan. Cooperation with Pakistan would also give Belarusian companies access to textile items that are not available in Belarus or the surrounding area, allowing them to better fulfill the needs of the country’s textile and apparel industry, as well as consumer demand for clothing.
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