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When Textiles Are All the Rage

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11th International Uzbek Cotton and Textile Fair

When Textiles Are All the Rage

When Textiles Are All the Rage

The world-renowned cotton industry of Uzbekistan has been gradually receding into the background. Entering the European and Asian markets, a new generation of domestic textile brands has been hard on its heel. The world's leading fashion houses like Gucci, Christian Dior and Calvin Klein have been successfully using Uzbek ikat, adras and satin in their collections. Uzbekistan Today reporters have made an attempt to figure out what stands behind the rise of the domestic light industry and the transformation in the cotton industry.

Last week, Tashkent hosted the 11th International Uzbek Cotton and Textile Fair. Judging by expert forecasts and development trends of the national economy, it promises to be called ‘textile’ and then ‘cotton fair’ in the near future.

Uzbekistan’s light industry ranks among the fastest growing segments of the economy, and leaders in foreign investments and exports. Last year’s monitoring showed that almost all companies of the industry have been equipped with modern energy-efficient equipment. Meanwhile, this is just a starting point, and the success is yet to come, as stated by representatives of O’bekyengilsanoat Company, who presented only a small part of initiatives they had scheduled for the fair.

For example, Uzbekistan is planning to channel $918 million into the implementation of 77 projects in the textile industry by the end of 2019. The funds will be invested in the creation of a vertically integrated textile complexes in different regions of the country, as well as establishment of new and expansion of existing production facilities jointly with world leaders of textile machinery. It is expected that the projects will enhance the current capacities by at least twice.

For instance, over $800 million worth of investment was channeled into the textile industry in 2010-2014. That empowered the commissioning and modernization of 147 enterprises with an export capacity of $670 million, and establishment of over 8,000 new jobs.

The role of light industry in the economic development of Uzbekistan can be judged by numbers: in the first half of 2015 its share in GDP was 3.8%, 26.2% in industrial production, and more than 44% in the production of non-food consumer goods. The credit for high performance goes to an effective policy of attraction of foreign investment and technologies, modernization, technical and technological renewal of manufactures, development of small business and private entrepreneurship. As a result, over the years of independence the industry has raised over $2.2 billion and implemented more than 180 big investment projects.

Today, the O'zbekyengilsanoat Company unites 312 textile, knitwear and silk enterprises, along with more than 3,000 enterprises throughout the country. They supply the foreign market with a wide range of products ranging from yarn to finished articles. Modern design and high-quality performance make the products competitive and enable the domestic manufacturers taking a worthy place in the international market.

O'zbekyengilsanoat enterprises have been exporting their products to 45 countries, and the sales geography has been constantly expanding at that. Enterprises of textile garment and knitwear industry deliver their goods to the CIS countries, Europe, China, the US, Canada and Arab states.

O'zbekyengilsanoat sees the strengthening of international cooperation and involvement of foreign partners in modernization, technical and technological extension of production, widespread promotion of domestic products to international markets, as well as implementation of innovative projects that would bring light industry to a new level as its major mission at the current stage.

It stands to reason that the capacity of the light industry at this year's fair has been demonstrated on a 2,000 square-meter textile pavilion. Nearly 100 domestic textile, garment and knitwear companies presented cotton yarn and fabric, dyed and mixed yarn, knitted fabrics, ready-made knitwear and garments, hosiery, terry articles, fabrics for special purposes, home textiles, uniform clothing, and other goods

Unprecedented for the CIS space, a unique Uzbek-South Korean project was in the spotlight. O'zbekyengilsanoat representatives demonstrated literally and figuratively a sketch of the future of the light industry in Uzbekistan, which is a learning and research textile industrial park. Its establishment has already been launched with the support of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy of Korea.

It is deemed to become a source of manpower for textile enterprises of new formation, which will be equipped with advanced equipment and apply the latest information and communication technologies. Moreover, there is a globally growing demand for the fabrics that resist to wetness, contamination, deformation, and do not lose color. South Korea has been leading in this field, so the technology park would allow introducing technological know-how in the domestic enterprises, establishing cooperation between researchers of the two countries in material engineering, dyeing and finishing plants, new design of textiles, clothing and much more.

Building and construction works, technological equipment and staff training will be funded by the government of South Korea. To date, the Korean side has approved the implementation of the project in 2015 in terms of design specifications and estimates. The launch of the technical park is scheduled for the end of 2017.

A preliminary plan of administrative buildings and a separate building for experimental production with energy efficient technologies has been already developed. Occupying a total area of over 10,000 square meters, it will be equipped with solar panels.

Several buildings of the technology park will house classrooms, conference rooms, exhibition halls, laboratories, offices, a greenhouse and other facilities. Another 1,500 square meters will be allocated for experimental research laboratory with weaving, knitting, dyeing, finishing, and sewing equipment.

The building promises to be a kind of a green island with a greenhouse and a smash garden with herbaceous cover on the roof. The adjacent territory will be covered with decorative high-strength plates, and decorated with green areas and fountains.

All the projects are aimed at increasing the share of processed cotton fiber and establishment of facilities for the manufacture of products with high added value. Today, more than 35% of the produced cotton fiber is processed within the country, and the index is promising to grow with the years. In 1994, the domestic textile industry exported goods at a total of $8 million, while in 2014 the figure exceeded $1 billion.

This year has marked the launch of a specialized program on the development of light industry, which envisages the commissioning of over 100 new joint ventures operated by the most advanced technologies and equipment in the next five years. This is far not the limit. Therefore, during the Fair, representatives of the government called international partners for active cooperation with Uzbekistan in the establishment of joint textile manufactures.

It is important to realize that the dynamic growth of the light industry is impossible without concomitant modernization of cotton industry. The policy of Uzbekistan in this area is based on maintaining stable production volumes of cotton not through expanding areas, but by means of introduction of modern agricultural technologies that allow increasing the yields. In this context, the development of innovative technologies of fiber production and improvement of its quality and performance characteristics remain the priorities for the coming years.

Today, Uzbekistan ranks the world’s sixth in cotton production, the fifth largest exporter, and the leading player on the global cotton arena.

Uzbekistan annually grows nearly 3.5 million tons of raw cotton, and produces 1.1 million tons of cotton fiber. Special importance has been attached to the mechanized collection of cotton. This year's harvesting campaign has engaged more than 1,200 cotton pickers.

Over the years of independence the domestic crop breeders have bred 112 cotton varieties, 30 of which were included in the State Register of Uzbekistan and recommended for planting in different regions of the country. When planning the breeding works, the breeders take into account the climatic conditions, making emphasis of the parameters like high productivity and quality of fiber, enhanced resistance to salinity and drought, diseases and pests, and extremely high temperatures.

The dynamically evolving institutional framework brings together more than a dozen research and production institutions, which annually breed and pilot about fifty new varieties of cotton. The grades that yield up to 50 metric centners per hectare and fiber output ratio of 40% ranks among the achievements.

Nearly 98% of the cotton Uzbekistan has produced this season consists of the first and highest grades. The credit of such a performance goes to good weather and no rain. Significant changes have taken place ginning sector; modernization and innovative approaches have contributed to the improved quality of cotton fiber.

Being a member of the Bremen Cotton Association and the International Cotton Advisory Committee, the Uzbek Center for Cotton Fiber Certification of SIFAT certifies fiber using modern HVI systems that meet the requirements of international standards. The ongoing program on technological re-equipment of Center’s branches envisages the replacement of semi-automatic HVI 900 with high-performance Uster 1000 by the end of 2017.

The well-built transport infrastructure is another important point to mention. Efficient logistics system, optimal routes and corridors have been ensuring prompt delivery of Uzbek cotton fiber to all consumers. Uzbekistan has 21 specialized cotton terminals with a simultaneous storage capacity of more than 400,000 tons of fiber.

Bringing all the factors together, it becomes clear why the leading experts of the textile and cotton industry have been attending the Tashkent Fair 11 times run. The first Fair in 2005 was attended by 300 representatives of companies from 26 countries, while this year it has brought together more than 1,000 participants from 40 states.

Ranking among the key parties of the international cotton market, within two days Uzbekistan has provided the representatives of cotton industry, textile companies and commercial traders with an opportunity to meet and discuss the development trends in the global cotton market and future forecasts, to participate in the Fair and exchange trading, conclude direct trade contracts on the supply of cotton fiber and textile articles.

Upon the Uzbek Cotton and Textile Fair, Uzbekistan signed sale contracts for 700,000 tons of cotton fiber and textile products worth over $800 million.

Uzbekistan contracted on the purchase of cotton fiber with companies from Bangladesh, China, Turkey, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Poland, UAE, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Iran and Russia, and signed agreements on exporting textiles with companies in Poland, Turkey, Russia, Singapore, South Korea and other countries.

Besides, Uzbekistan signed two memorandums on cooperation in textile industry with Indorama Company (Singapore) and Swiss Capital Company (Switzerland).

“The forum has once again demonstrated its uniqueness and relevance in the global cotton and textile community. These two days have been very eventful, the participants exchanged views on relevant issues of the present and the future of the cotton industry. We have reached several agreements on the development of partnerships,” said Minister of Foreign Economic Relations, Investments and Trade Elyor Ganiev at the closing ceremony.

We hope that next October Tashkent will traditionally host thousands of guests who are interested in purchasing high-quality cotton fiber and textiles, as well as in the establishment of new joint modern manufactures.

(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)