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Tunisia: Slight decline in textile exports, Italy top client

October 2008 resulted in a slight variation in terms of value of the Tunisian textile exports (-1.0%) reaching 341 thousand dinars. Valued in €, exports record a quasi-stagnation (-0.02) i.e. 195 million €. As for imports, they record a good recovery in value and quantity respectively (9.4%) in DT (10.5%)  in €  and (+6.3%) in weight (tons) compared with the same period of 2007.

According to figures released by CETTEX,  a slight increase in dinars (+1.7%) is reported for exports and a decline (-2.7%) in €. As for imports, they underwent a very slight change in dinars (0.5%) and a decrease in € (-3.8%).

For the garment industry, the month of October recorded a drop in value (-2.36%) and an increase in volume (7.17%) for the warp and weft chain. As for the mesh chain, it registered a rise in value (2.37%) and a volume decrease (-6.43%).
Despite the stagnation of exports in its entirety in October, the variations are very heterogeneous on the main export markets. Italy confirms its position as Tunisia first client Tunisia, outranking France for the first time during the month of September. With 123 MDT and 4 945 tons, it recorded an increase in supplies (+4.7%) and (+9.1%) in volume. This increase is due primarily to two items: T-shirts (+28% in value and 21% by volume) and shirts (+40% in value and 28% by volume). Jeans purchases maintained their pace in October following a decline in September (1.0%) in value and (8.5%) in volume while dress trousers continue to decline (-23.9%) in value and (-22.6%) in volume.

Tunisian exports to France are holding their declining course: (-8.5%) in value and (-10.8%) in volume, this drop involves almost  all products apart from work clothes (+33 %) in value and (+22%) in volume and tee-shirts (+7.6%) in value and  (16.4%) in volume. 

 Italy became Tunisia  first client thanks to the dynamism shown by its investors in  Tunisia

Indeed, the industrial fabric includes now 283 Italian companies employing almost 28 thousand people. Italian investment in Tunisia increased by 18.3% in 2007: textiles and clothing are the first manufacturing sector that attracts Italian investment.

Heading for partnership

Tunisia relies heavily on foreign investors to boost its textile industry, called for greater dynamism to cope with tougher global competition. This dynamism goes, among other ways and means, through strengthening its position in the short circuits and products with high fashion content.

Especially, the transition from subcontracting to partnership and to finished product is likely to strengthen the competitiveness of the sector.

Indeed, CETTEX believes that Tunisian clothing industry is moving inexorably towards an industrial model providing integrated supply, steering both design and production…
This model is able today to meet the various requirements of European buyers in terms of fashion, restocking, small series, quality … ..

This may be illustrated by the Tunisian response to the demand for fast fashion throughout the production chain whether in terms of technology, product industrialization or logistics.. So that significant progress had been made in terms of  lead time shortening compared to 2000, 2003 and 2004  as far as production subcontracting, co-contracting and finished product are concerned. Regarding outsourcing, lead time ranging up to 5 and 6 weeks in 2000 have been brought to 2 or 3 weeks now. This applies also for co-contracting and finished product where lead time was amounting to 2 ½ months in 2003-2004 and stands at 5 weeks now.

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