ITM 2018 Exhibition Will Play An Essential Role In The Entegration Of The Turkish Textile Machinery Sector With The World

After 2016, with the words of İsmail Gülle, the Chairman of the Board of ITHIB, “Very impressive investment and export news are coming in 2017, which is declared to be the year of enterprise by us. To analyze the situation of the sector, and to learn what the new investments and expert rates can be, and to underline the importance of ITM 2018, we made an interview with İsmail Gülle, the Chairman of the Board of ITHIB. Remarking that the textile industry will be very lively and productive in 2017 and 2018, İsmail Gülle said that there will be 3 billion dollars of investment.

  • After tumultuous years, we are at the beginning of hopeful years; and you have a claim to make 3 Billion Dollars of textile investment in 2018. What kind of dynamics are you associating this with?

    Since the 1980s, the industry of Textile and Raw Materials in Turkey has been the most important driving force of the economy and production. Despite the cyclical fluctuations in the world economy, Turkish textile industry continued to increase its investments and spare funds for the R&D operations. Our textile and raw materials industry, being the locomotive of Turkey, will continue to create more employment opportunities and to be more influential in value-added products, according to the positive signals that we receive in 2017 from our economy. 

    Textile and Raw Materials industry’s complementary quality, from machine to the chemical industry, to agriculture and to dye houses, displays the dynamic structure of this industry. The geographical location of the country and our strong production infrastructure allow us to respond quickly to the demands, from abroad, and to be the country with the fastest service.

    Despite all of the negative situations that we confronted as a country, our sector managed to preserve the volume of its export, based on important supports of our government towards its exporters in every respect and opened their path by finding correct solutions for their problems; while the trade volume was shrinking all around the world in 2016, and made a very good start in 2017, as well. 

    We are regularly and frequently meeting with the sector; creating solutions for our problems together; and exchanging ideas about our sector. Our exporters and industrialists trust in their country and continue with their investments. In this good economic atmosphere, in which the companies of our industry continue to grow and improve and are encouraged to invest in R&D and technology, I believe 2017 and 2018 will be years, when we will find very important values in export and investments in our country will be even more active. 

  • Textile is one of the most important and locomotive sectors of or country, even if we had a graphic with rise and falls, our optimism continues. At this point, what are the most important duties of Turkish manufacturers?

    As all other sectors, the textile industry was also affected by the negative developments in 2016, but our sector managed to protect the export volume of 2015, also in 2016. To maintain the sustainability of the textile industry by strengthening it, it has to be able to successfully follow-up the age of technology and incline to the products, which are requiring density of knowledge and having high added-value. For this, our sector has to attach importance to R&D works; allocate funds for researches and focus on design and innovation. Our companies, investing in R&D and technology, continue one step ahead on their path. Therefore, it is required for the companies to adjust their foundations according to today’s requirements and invest in R&D as well as in qualified workforce, in order not to break off from the global system. Our sector has taken important steps in 2016 as a pioneer in the Industry 4.0, as it is a leader in every field. We launched ITA İstanbul, the first R&D innovation center of Turkey for the textile sector, with other associations of textile exporters and the German RWTH Aachen University’s Institute of Textile Technology. As a sector, we participate in all works on the path of manufacturing value added products. With this understanding, it is required that our companies must adapt their production infrastructure with the Industry 4.0, and keep up with the constantly changing technology. The recognition of the principles developing in R&D, innovation and qualified workforce by our sector companies’, will result in having reached the aimed levels by our sector.  

  • Export reached the peak of the last 17 months in March. It seems that this momentum will continue increasing in the following months. What is your prediction for the end of 2017 in export?

    As the family of exporters, we declared the year of 2017 as the year of initiations, by getting prepared very hard. Instead of complaining about the negative developments of 2016 and losing our hope, we determined new road maps, targets and strategies as exporters. In 2017, we are gathering the fruit of the works that we have made since the first month of the year. In the period of January-April in 2017, the general export rate of Turkey increased by 6,7% and reached the amount of 50 million dollars. In this period, our export of industrial products increased by 11% and achieved the amount of 39 billion dollars. The increasing export volume in textile and raw materials since the beginning of 2017 is quite pleasing. Reaching the peak of the last 17 months with the export value of 930 million dollars in March, our export was realized at the amount of 3.3 billion dollars in the period of January-April, which amounts to  6.6% of the general export of Turkey. Considering the realized export figures, we are predicting that the export rate will increase up to 10-12% by the end this year. As the normalization process with Russia gains speed, we are expecting that our export losses will decrease and this situation will also positively reflect on our export figures. Our export will continue to increase as the decrease in the petrol prices will end, so the petrol exporting countries will recover and there will be reform packages.

  • What is your approach to new investments as a Turkish industrialist? What references does a textile manufacturer take as the basis while making an investment?

    In fact, the criteria to invest in a country are the same for all investors around the world. In the process of decision making, the laws of the country and the regulation, related to the finance transfer, are studied, firstly. Later on, the input costs, logistic capabilities and other factors are taken into consideration. We can say that the same criteria are applicable for Turkish investors. 

    Our country provides legal securities for both domestic and foreign investors with the highest standards of the world, and it provides easiness, which is almost unique in the world, in terms of flexibility and functionality. The supports for investors have been recently brought to a much more comprehensive point. 

    On the other hand, the supports of our government, EXIMBANK and the Credit Guarantee Fund, which provide great easiness for exporter, are at the top of the support items, which are needed by the sector, exactly at the point of accessing to finance. Meanwhile, the Attraction Center Supports, which will be antidote to the terror in 23 provinces, located in the East and the Southeast and will provide a great contribution to the employment of hundreds of thousands of people, will also decrease the wealth difference between the East and the West and will greatly contribute to make 2017 a year of investment. I believe that beginning to apply the qualified manufacturer certificate and supporting qualified manufacturers in these fields will have positive impacts on the sector. 

  • What would you tell us, if we asked about technical textiles, which is a very important subject? What would you like to say beginning from their perception to their production, from their exports to their daily use?

    Instead of its aesthetic and decorative features, the technical textile is a field, which covers the features of textile materials and products that are mainly manufactured for their technical performances and functional features. These products are designed specially to be used in another product or within a process or to provide a specific feature, on their own. Technical textiles are expensive products, with high added-value. They offer high performance features such as resistance against chemicals, weather conditions, micro-organisms and high endurance and incombustibility.

    There are almost 150 products, in which technical textiles are used. They comprehend a very wide area, including conveyor (transporter) bands, medical gloves, ballistic (bullet-proof) cloth, acoustic isolation materials, rockets, air-bags in cars, anti-static textiles, artificial turf, sunshade cloths, bandage materials, flame-resistant blanket and pillows, filters, incombustible construction materials, chemical protective suits, and disposable protective clothes. Turkey can produce all products in the field of textile with its production infrastructure, technical equipment and perform the export. 

    If we take a close look at the export figures of 2016, the total export volume of the production group of technical textiles has been concluded with 1,5 billion dollars, with a current export amount of approximately 490 million dollars, in the period of January - April in 2017. When our export of technical textile in January - April 2017 is examined on the basis of product groups, it is seen that the most important product group spunlace (nonwoven) textile export, with its share of 30%, was realized at the amount of 145 million dollars with an increase rate of 1,8%. The second most important product group of technical textiles with its approximate share of 22% and export rate of 106 million dollars are bags and sacks of the goods packaging group. Our sector tends to develop added-value products by increasing its technology level through long-term strategies such as “technical textiles” and “multi-functional, smart textiles” which are requiring extensive know-how and to promote them to the world markets.  While it is being intended to use energy-efficient/environmentally friendly technologies in the textile finishing, less harmful finishing methods (biological finishing methods, plasma and ion implantation and ultrasonic finishing methods) are developed around the world, because of the impacts of chemicals used in the textile finishing processes, our companies are also encouraged to use these methods.

  • What kind of contribution can ITM 2018 International Textile Machines Exhibition, the most important meeting point of textile technology that is going to be held between 14 - 17 April 2018 make for investments and exports of textile? Could you please share your opinion?

    By declaring the year 2017 as the year of breakthroughs, I believe that with governmental supports very important investments and developments will take place. The provision of textile machines is a very important process for the realization of these initiations. ITM 2018 International Textile Machinery Exhibition has therefore a leader position, as it will unite the world textile technologies with the sector representatives in Turkey and is the pioneer in promoting the Turkish machine industry. I hope this important exhibition will be beneficial for our sector and our country.