Turkey’s technical textile exports took off during the pandemic period. In the January-December period of 2020, technical textile exports increased by 76 percent and reached an amount of 3 billion US Dollars. Technical textile exports of the Aegean Region increased by 98 percent and reached an amount of 194 million US Dollars.
Bed linen listening to the heartbeats, car seats that awaken drivers who are about to sleep, textiles that change color according to room temperature, fibers 15 times more durable than steel, military camouflage, and nano-technological fabrics that do not burn and sweat, etc., which are in our daily lives evermore, became the shining star of our exports as well. Technical textile, which is one of the pioneers of high value-added exports, has stepped up with its products for the medical textile industry and active sportswear products with the effect of the pandemic. The sector, which closed 2019 with an export volume of 1 billion 724 million US Dollars, increased its exports by 76 percent in 2020 and reached an amount of 3 billion US Dollars. Ahmet Öksüz, President of Istanbul Textile and Raw Materials Exporters’ Association (İTHİB), said, ‘‘We are proud that technical textile exports reached the highest export volume in the history of our Republic,’’ regarding the subject.
The increase continued in the first three months of 2021
Considering Turkey’s technical textile exports in the first three months of 2021, it is observed that 30.5 percent of the total exports in the January-March period consist of the nonwoven fabric product group. In this period, Turkey’s nonwoven fabric exports increased by 26.5 percent and reached an amount of 199 million US Dollars.
The second most important product group in technical textile exports was ready-to-wear products made of technical textile materials with a share of 18.8 percent within total exports. In the January-March period, Turkey’s exports of the relevant product group increased by 699.0 percent and amounted to 123 million US Dollars.
The third most important product group in Turkey’s technical textile exports in the January-March period was bags and sacks for packaging made of technical textiles with a share of 14.4 percent within total technical textile exports. Turkey’s exports of the relevant product group increased by 24.2 percent in the January-March period, reaching a value of 94 million US Dollars.
Most Technical Textile Exports to Germany
Observing the top 10 countries in Turkey’s technical textile exports, it is seen that Germany is the largest export market. In the January-March period, technical textile exports to Germany, which has a share of 9.5 percent in Turkey’s total technical textile exports, increased by 79.4 percent and amounted to 62 million US Dollars.
In the January-March period, the second country to which Turkey exported the most technical textiles was the USA, with a share of 7.8 percent in total exports. During this period, exports of technical textiles to the USA increased by 57.6 percent and reached a value of 51 million US Dollars.
Italy, on the other hand, is the third country to which Turkey exports the most technical textiles. Exports to Italy, which has a share of 7.8 percent in Turkey’s technical textile exports, increased by 64.5 percent in the January-March period and amounted to approximately 51 million US Dollars.
Turkey Gains Foreign Trade Surplus in Nonwoven Fabric Production
Turkish manufacturers, who have met the intense demand for medical textiles especially since March, have also received incentives for new investments in this field. ITHIB President Ahmet Öksüz stated that it was quite easy for mask and protective clothing manufacturers to access raw materials since Turkey has a foreign trade surplus in nonwoven fabric production and the country stands out in this field. Öksüz commented as follows regarding the subject, ‘‘Companies that accelerate their investments that require high technology, are able to carry out value-added exports. In the textile and raw materials industry, the price per kg in exports is 4.2 US Dollars, while the price per kg in technical textiles can reach up to 20 US Dollars.’’
New investments are on the way
Technical textiles constitute a significant part of the exports of the textile and raw materials industry in Turkey. Ahmet Öksüz stated the following on the subject, ‘‘During the pandemic period, our technical textile industry received approximately 3 billion TL for personal protective equipment products such as masks and gowns and approximately 2.5 billion TL for non-woven fabric investments. We anticipate that our sector, which ranks 19th in global technical textile exports, will increase its global ranking in the coming years, especially through the investments that were realized in recent years.’’
Öksüz indicated that due to the use of technical textiles in many sectors, it will take an important share from traditional textiles and continued as follows, ‘‘We observe that the system will rapidly evolve towards technical textiles where R&D and innovation are at the forefront. We notice that the pandemic period accelerates this transformation process. Technical textiles have been increasing their share in global textile and raw materials exports every year, especially in the last 10 years.’’
Worldwide Technical Textile Exports Amount to 107 Billion USD
Technical textile exports around the world reach 107 billion US Dollars. The share of technical textiles, which stands out as high value-added products, is quite high in the textile exports of countries with predominantly developed industries. While this share reaches 40 percent in countries such as the USA, Japan, France, and Belgium, the share of technical textiles in Germany’s total textile exports reaches up to 65 percent. While Turkey’s textile export reached 10 billion US Dollars as of last year, the share of technical textiles is constantly increasing. ITHIB President Ahmet Öksüz expressed, ‘‘Our industry continues to make very important technical textile investment decisions even during the pandemic.’’