The International Trade Center (ITC) brings Tunisian textile companies to Egypt to boost regional trade
In the first business-to-business mission since the pandemic, the International Trade Center brought together 10 Tunisian companies and 26 Egyptian companies in May to Cairo, to talk about businesses and explore regional trade opportunities.
Textiles and clothing are among the main exports of the Middle East and North Africa. The Agadir agreement created a free trade area between Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia, making these countries important engines of activity in the sector.
In 2019, their combined exports of $8.6 billion accounted for 55% of textiles and apparel exports from the Middle East and North Africa.
The International Trade Center supports small and medium enterprises in Agadir countries to increase regional trade, through the Global Textiles and Apparel Program and its related work in the region. Known as GTEX/MENATEX, this program promotes the development of regional supply chains, facilitates collaboration and shares experiences and best practices.
“It was the first regional activity after the pandemic. This has given companies the necessary motivation as markets have reopened, business travel and in-person trade shows have returned to daily reality,” said Rasha Fahim, Executive Director of the Egyptian Textile and Textile Export Council. home textiles (THTEC).
“Overall, the feedback from participants has been very positive, and we are delighted to see fruitful exchanges.
Tunisian companies worked in lingerie, sportswear, denim, zippers and accessories. Egyptian companies worked in casual wear, knitwear, acrylics, bamboo, blended yarns, as well as cottons.
The 85 meetings and 18 factory visits have already yielded tangible results. Éclair, a Tunisian company that produces accessories, has started selling its products to two Egyptian clothing manufacturers.
“Participating in the mission organized by the GTEX/MENATEX program helped us to understand the offer of Egyptian fabric and yarn suppliers and how we could start doing business with them,” said Tarek Ben Haj Ali, Managing Director from Workman Group, a Tunisian company that has been manufacturing workwear for over 25 years. He has met with six Egyptian companies and is optimistic about the growth of these relationships.
Remon Adly, director of Egyptian group Riad, also established potential new business relationships.
“We had meetings with six Tunisian companies and they visited our company premises,” he said. “They were able to verify the quality of our products and the high standard of our production facilities. Some of them have already expressed interest in starting a business together in the near future.
Riad Group is a family business founded in 1930, producing knitwear and ready-to-wear.
“It is certainly essential to create links between the countries of the MENA region,” Adly said. “Nevertheless, it is necessary to improve the logistical connections between them to facilitate the process of economic and commercial exchange.”
The EU and the United States are the biggest buyers of textiles in the Agadir region.
On the other hand, exports to neighboring countries remain relatively low, partly due to lower purchasing power. But to comply with EU trade rules, encourage Agadir countries to work with each other’s products before exporting them. This could encourage more trade within the region along the supply chain, even if the finished products are destined for the EU.
This is why Egyptian suppliers of yarns and fabrics as well as Tunisian suppliers of accessories were reported as the first successes of the trade mission.
This mission also brought together business support organizations in Tunisia (Ministry of Trade and Industry, CETTEX and FTTH) and in Egypt (Ministry of Trade and Industry, THTEC, AECE). All agreed to work more closely together to facilitate trade, improve logistics and reduce non-tariff barriers between the two countries.
About the GTEX/MENATEX program
The Global Textiles and Clothing Program (GTEX) and its related work in the Middle East and North Africa (MENATEX) supports small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and business support organizations (BSOs) working in the textile and apparel (T&C) industry in developing countries to increase export competitiveness.
The GTEX/MENATEX program is funded by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) of the Swiss Confederation and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and focuses on six priority countries (Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Tunisia) .
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the International Trade Centre.
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