Uzbekistan’s fully integrated textile value chain, growing market and investment programs offer a wide range of opportunities to boost business relations between Germany and Uzbekistan.
We asked several questions about one of the fastest growing textile and clothing markets in the world to Dr. Tilo KLINNER, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Germany to the Republic of Uzbekistan Klinner and the German Association of manufacturers of knitwear and garments Gesamtmasche.
– At the invitation of the Federal President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev visited this country on May 2-3 this year. What horizons of mutually beneficial cooperation, in particular in the textile sector, did this visit open at the highest level? How closely are our countries working together right now in this sector?
– During the meetings between the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan with the Federal President of Germany and the Chancellor of Germany, both sides underscored the strong and growing economic cooperation between the two countries. This cooperation includes projects in the fields of vocational training and market access in the textile sector, which will be expanded in the coming years and are being funded by the German government. Such a state visit generally always also draws attention from the business sector. And in this particular instance, President Mirziyoyev’s visit motivated companies from the German textile sector to take a closer look at the large potential Uzbekistan offers as a partner for production of textiles and trade of the needed machinery.
– After China, India, the United States, Brazil, and Pakistan, Uzbekistan ranks sixth in the world for cotton production. And until quite recently, the desired Uzbek cotton could only be purchased in the CIS countries. All of that has changed now. How would you rate the improvements in Uzbekistan’s cotton and textile markets?
– In the past years, Uzbekistan has successfully focused on the verticalization of its textile sector, which means the adding value to the country’s economy by not just growing and exporting raw cotton, but by locally processing the raw material from the cotton field to the shelfs. As of now, all cotton picked in Uzbekistan is also being processed in Uzbekistan. In this way, many and more long-term jobs were created which sustain the Uzbek people beyond the cotton picking season.
Moreover, the textile sector has grown its sustainability by regarding social and environmental standards along the supply chain. For this, the government has posed several incentives for both, Uzbek producers to acquire certifications for new export markets and for international companies to source more easily from Uzbekistan, for example in terms of logistics or the participation at international trade fairs.
Due to these efforts and developments, Uzbekistan is becoming more attractive for foreign companies, which seek to find new partners for investments and trade opportunities.
– Uzbek textile manufacturers and fashion brands do not identify themselves with cheap goods, but want to succeed through quality and sustainable production. What is unique about successful collaborations, such as Teamdress and Langheinrich, and how do they contribute to this?
– The German textile and clothing industry is characterized by small and medium-sized companies. Many companies are family-run and have been family-owned for generations. Teamdress and Langheinrich are also among these traditional companies whose DNA includes cross-generational, long-term thinking. In the highly competitive textile market, they could and can only be successful through constant innovation and adaptation. A number of other German companies from different areas of the textile sector share this approach and are interested in stronger cooperation with Uzbek companies.
Uzbekistan can benefit from such partnerships through the transfer of German know-how and the promotion of quality standards. What counts here are not necessarily large production quantities, but flexibility, a high technological standard and excellent knowledge of the European market. Quality improvements also have a positive impact on production for the Uzbek domestic market. The European demand in the high-quality genre, whether for fashion, work wear or home equipment can be better met by Uzbek companies if they engage in such cooperations. It also contributes to the indepence of the Uzbek economy as a whole.
– The German Agency for International Cooperation – GIZ, an organization with which many projects are being implemented in Uzbekistan, including in the textile and education sectors. The most comprehensive project is “Sustainable development and value addition in the Uzbek cotton industry”, which addresses agricultural, cotton, and textile industries as well as environmental and climate protection, social development, and economic growth. Additionally, the projects “Support for the process of reform and modernization in the system of vocational education in Uzbekistan” and “Promotion of exports and the creation of a Fashion Incubator (FIT)” are in operation. What advantages do these projects offer? How can they aid in the growth of the textile sector as a whole?