Leaders in clothing, textile discuss ways to boost ailing sector

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Leaders in the Clothing and Textile industry are gathering in Cape Town for a four-day conference.

It’s aimed at finding ways to boost the ailing sector that has shed thousands of jobs due to cheap imports that have crippled it.

The industry has been cited by Statistics South Africa as one of the main contributors to the country’s shock 3.2% Gross Domestic Product (GDP) first quarter contraction.

The Western Cape is one of the dominant provinces in the textiles and clothing business.

The province intends to grow its industry into a globally competitive one and envisages various incentive schemes.

“For decades the clothing and textiles industry has been a key job creator and key sector in our economy and as the city’s enterprise and investment department it is one sector that we really are hoping to get behind to ensure that the industry can bounce back and reach its full potential,” says the City of Cape Town Director of Enterprise Investments, Lance Greyling.

Organisers have vowed to open up business opportunities for the industry.

“Apart from being one of the largest retail sector on the continent, South Africa is regarded as a platform for trade with other African countries and pacific neighbours and it is the best connectivity in Sub-Saharan Africa,” says Vice President of Textiles & Textile Technologies at Messe Frankfurt, Olaf Schmidt.

Representatives from China and the US, the two biggest markets and economies, also offered assistance. They say their countries have had a long relationship with South Africa and are looking forward to creating win-win partnerships with the local textiles and clothing industry.

At least 160 decision-makers from 18 countries are participating in the conference, set to continue until the weekend.

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