ITM Exhibition Offers Important Opportunities For Those Who Want To Follow The Innovations

Ahmet Öksüz, Chairman of ITHIB (Istanbul Textile and Raw Materials Exporters’ Association) said, “We are expecting ITM 2020 to bring in large gains with thanks to its quality as an event that brings together the world’s leading brands in the textile industry.”

Exports are expected to continue to rise in the textile industry this year, following the record-breaking export figures in the history of the Republic. Target markets for 2019 include Africa as well as the South American and Asian markets.

Exports to the United States account for well over 600 million dollars out of the total exports of textile and raw materials amounting to 794 million dollars in 2018. ITHIB Chairman Ahmet Öksüz states that our ability to increase market diversity in our exports to the Americas is very important in terms of sustainable exports.

We held an interview for ITM News with ITHIB Chairman Ahmet Öksüz. Öksüz talked about the export targets in the textile industry in 2019 and shared important notes on ITM 2020. Öksüz emphasized that large-scale exhibitions like ITM offer great commercial opportunities for all professionals, who want to follow up with the industry and keep an eye on the innovations.


The textile industry is of great importance for the industry and exports as it provides the biggest added value and is one of the country’s leading sectors to close the current account deficit. Can you tell us your expectations and forecasts about the investments and exports in this industry?

In 2018, our industry’s textile and raw materials exports amounted to 10.5 billion dollars. Just as in 2018 when the exports broke a record of the Republic’s history, we are expecting the exports to continue to rise in 2019 as well.
Although the textile and raw materials indusrty saw a slight decrease in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same period in the last year, this trend has started to reverse. In particular, our export volume is increasing steadily. This means that every passing day our industry produces more than before. Unfortunately, even though the current conjuncture shows a slight decrease due to the fluctuations in the exchange rates and the global events, we are expecting that our industry, which gives foreign trade surplus every year, will end 2019 with an export value higher than the previous year.
You have announced that as ITHIB your exports will increase by 10% in 2019. In this regard, what can you say about your action plan?

Our primary objective is to ensure that our industry, which holds an important position for the exports in our country, maintains and increases the growth trend in exports. However, since the industry is affected by both domestic and global developments, we are constantly renewing ourselves and seeking new ways.

In this context, at the beginning of 2019 we applied to implement the International Competitiveness Development Project (P&D) for 5 different sub-sectors with the support of the Ministry of Trade. At present, we have obtained an approval for our project and we have started for our member companies operating in the garment sub-industry and technical textile industries in addition to our ongoing project in the home textile industry.

Also, we are launching international promotional programs. During the New York Fashion Week in February, we introduced the Turkish fabrics to the world in cooperation with Turkey Promotion Group.

We are establishing organizations that we call “new generation trade delegations” instead of the general purpose trade delegations. Accordingly, we are organizing our delegations targeting a specific company in a certain country with the supplies and demand overlapping each other. In addition, with our specialized purchasing delegations, we continue to help the representatives from foreign companies meet the exporters in our country.


Exports to all over the world, even to the remotest places, by the textile industry in 2018 reached the highest figures in history. Accordingly, which new markets have the textile industry sailed to in 2018, and, which countries are your targets in 2019?
The target markets for 2019 include the South American and Asian markets in addition to Africa. In 2018, our exports to the Americas increased by 6% to 794 million dollars. However, more than 600 million of these exports were made to the United States alone. Increasing market diversity in our exports to the Americas is very important to achieve sustainable exports.
In 2018, our exports of textile and raw materials to Asia and Oceania increased by 25.1% to 677 million dollars. In the coming period, we aim to implement projects for exports to Japan and South Korea where Turkey’s textile and raw materials industry can perform sustainable value-added exports. In this regard, we attach great importance to the Free Trade Agreement, which our Ministry of Trade aims to conclude with Japan.
Can you make an assessment of the technical textile industry? Do you think that the textile producers in our country are performing sufficient activities in this field? Can we tell us about your P&D project to be implemented for the technical textile industry?
Today textile products are used in a wide range of areas such as automotive, shipbuilding, aviation, machinery, electronics, electrotechnics, medicine, construction, agriculture. they can also be replaced with metal and plastic materials. Now textile and apparel products can be utilized for different functions, not only for dressing, but in many different places.

The main feature of the product group called the “technical textiles“ is that they are functional products. In other words, this product group finds more space in daily life with its functional features and increasing product variety. We see that the textile industry has increased its significance in many areas from agriculture to construction, geotextile products, hygienic and medical products, automotive textiles, sports textiles and smart textiles thanks to the innovative efforts.

Turkey has made technical textile exports of 1.54 billion dollars in 2017, and in 2018, 1.75 billion dollars worth of technical textile exports were made increasing by 13%. We have a rising export chart in this field. However, this is not enough for our industry, which has to meet the needs changing day by day. Therefore, we need to increase our production capacity and improve ourselves in this area.

Based on these needs, we have added a new product to our International Competitiveness Development (P&D) Project supported by the Ministry of Trade. We have obtained an approval from the Ministry for our project for technical textile industry with 13 member companies. We believe that we will continue to contribute to our country by increasing the production and export capacities of our member companies through training, consultancy organizations and overseas marketing activities within the scope of this project.

We launched an e-export campaign with the support of the Ministry of Trade. What will be the benefits of the e-export campaign for the textile companies? What responsibilities do the companies have for digital transformation?

Nowadays, many processes have been transitioned to the digital environment. Since we are one of the first industries affected by these changes, it is impossible to isolate ourselves from the digital transformation. Now, the traditional sales and marketing techniques are made in the electronic environment. The support, provided by the Ministry to our member companies in this context, provides a very valuable opportunity to open to the outside world and new markets to reach new customers.

We, as the industry, attach great importance to digital transformation. We maintain that it is possible to obtain approximately 2 billion dollars of export revenue in the medium term with an incentive of 1 million TRY to be provided to a number of companies operating in the industry. Because our industry needs to adapting to the world developing each passing day in order to find new horizons and break new records. Our main objective is to integrate the production process into automation and to increase efficiency. In this regard, we believe that we will have new achievements with our industry’s capacity and the support from the government.


What will be the contributions of the ITM 2020 which will be held on 2-6 June 2020 and HIGHTEX 2020, organized concurrently with ITM 2020, textile sector? Could you evaluate the ITM exhibitions, which have become a global meeting point with hundreds of participants and tens of thousands of visitors worldwide?

As we all know, the large-scale trade shows like ITM offer important business opportunities for all professionals, who want to feel the pulse of the industry and follow up with the innovations. It is also very important for our country to host such an event, because we can clearly see our country’s strategic position acting as a bridge between the East and the West.

And we hope it will bring in great gains as it is an event that brings together the leading brands in the global textile industry.