Textile & Fashion Industry Looking for $17 Bln in Exports in 2012

New Year meeting brings together 250 people from industry and other walks of life

The Korean textile & fashion industry has set a 2012 goal of exporting $17.01 billion in textile products, up 6.4 percent over 2011, and posting a $2.16 billion trade surplus, marking the third consecutive year of growth.
The industry has made strides since 1988, achieving double-digit growth in 2010 and 2011, thus contributing to the nation becoming the ninth member of the global club of $1 trillion trade.
Figures released by Ro Hee-chan, Chairman of the Korean Federation of Textile Industries (KOFOTI) showed that the industry saw exports of $13.9 billion in 2010, a 19.5 percent surge over the previous year, and $15.98 billion in 2011, a 15 percent jump. The industry accounted for about 3.1 percent of the nation's total exports, and it took up an 8.8 percent share in terms of creating jobs among manufacturing industries.
Officials of the Textile, Apparel & Consumer Goods Division at the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE) said despite economic uncertainties such as the financial crisis of the euro zone, the Korean textile & fashion industry will strive to make the most of opportunities, including the entry into force of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA), in order not only to boost exports, but also to retain jobs and create brands. Specifically, they said, the industry and the government set three strategies focusing on the production of value-added items and the strengthening of overseas marketing activities; ensuring cooperation among textile streams; and making the most of the entry into force of the KORUS FTA.
As to opportunities favorable to the industry, MKE officials said, Korea's mainstay items such as polyester textiles, knitted goods and polyester woven fabric have seen exports surging in newly emerging markets such as Southeast Asian countries. Specifically, textile material exports surged to $1.2 billion in the first 10 months of last year, a 34.9 percent surge over the same period of the previous year; textile fiber exports climbed 17.8 percent to $1.49 billion; woven fabric exports soared 16.7 percent to $8 billion; and textile product exports jumped 11.2 percent to $2.5 billion, according to data released by MKE. The industry's efforts to promote its continuous restructuring and technology development, and to make products value-added in order to ramp up its competitive edge have boosted exports, they said.
Regarding the uncertain prospects, the officials said, the global economy continues to be under recessionary pressures due to fears of the prolonged financial crisis of the EU, low growth rates, and policy uncertainties. Textile demand is forecast to decline due to the sagging global economy, and there are fears that export-oriented textile firms will suffer losses.
Roughly 250 people from the local textile & fashion industry, government and other walks of life assembled at a New Year meeting at the Korea Textile Center in Samseong-dong, Seoul on Jan. 12.
Among the participants were Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik, MKE Vice Minister for Industry & Technology Yoon Sang Jick, Rep. Kim Tae-hwan, Rep. Choi Kyung-hwan, Rep. Choo Ho-young, Kim Dong Soo Executive Vice Chairman of the Korean Federation of Textile Industries and representatives and leaders of the textile and fashion industry and related organizations. nw

(left)Ro Hee-chan, chairman of the Korean Federation of Textile Industries (KOFOTI).; Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik claps hands with other dignitaries at a New Year meeting for those in the Korean textile & fashion industry. Prime Minister Kim and others take seats at the head table during the gathering.

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