Undoubtedly, the textile industry is one of the most important sectors of our economy. Its capabilities guarantee a leading number of job-places. And this industry demonstrates the most active development. The President of the country has set a goal to bring the export of textile products to 5 billion US dollars, and the level of utilization of the capacities of garment and knitwear industries is planned to increase from the current 65 to 81 percent.
Ilhom Utkurovich KHAYDAROV, Chairman of the Uztextileprom Association, answered the questions of the editorial board regarding the development of the industry in an interview.
– As an addition to PD-2 dated in January 10 Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a Decree PD-155 dated September, 2, on reforming the textile and knitwear industry and expanding its export potential. What goals have already been achieved, what will be undertaken in the near future?
– This Presidential Decree is aimed at the development of the textile industry, its signing once again proves that the state provides large-scale support to the textile industry, turning it into one of the most dynamically developing sectors of the republic, and it will contribute to turn Uzbekistan into a regional textile hub and by 2027 increase annual exports to 10 billion US Dollars.
Moreover, out of the $ 200 million provided for the continuous provision of working capital to enterprises exporting fabric, knitted fabric and finished sewing and knitwear products, an agreement was reached to provide 80 enterprises in the industry, of which more than 20 enterprises have already been approved by banks for the allocation of 30 million USD. The rest are at the stage of approval or consideration.
Furthermore, as part of the implementation of projects in the production of upholstery, carpet, painting and finishing, ready-made garments and knitwear with the allocation of credit lines in the amount of 100 million USD, 14 projects worth 114 million USD have already been developed, for which more than 10 enterprises have applied.
Also, representative offices of Control Union, OEKO TEX, Better Cotton and Better Work have already been launched, according to the clause on the organization of three representative offices of foreign companies providing international certificates for the products of local enterprises. In particular, the Centrastex Trading House in Nuremberg and the Sustainable Cotton Association in Stuttgart, as well as the Trading House in Barcelona, Spain, are opened in Germany. More than 60 trading houses of industry enterprises have been established in 10 countries of the world – in Germany, Poland, USA, Russia, Lithuania and other countries. At the same time, the state encourages the creation of trading houses and warehouses through 100% coverage of the costs of enterprises in the industry for their rent. The state also reimburses up to 70% of transportation costs to exporters for the supply of fabrics, knitted fabrics and finished garments and knitwear to Europe, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, North and South America, the Arab Republic, Korea, Japan.
– We are the only country in the world that has managed to completely eradicate forced labor in a very short time and prevent the subsequent growth of this phenomenon. How is the industry developing after the abolition of the “cotton boycott”?
– The recognition of Uzbekistan at the beginning of 2022 by international organizations ILO, the Cotton Campaign, the Alliance of Human Rights Non-Governmental Groups, trade unions and business associations as a country free from forced and child labor was not achieved in an easy way. To this end, during 2019–2021, numerous negotiations were held and work was done in accordance with the approved Roadmap. According to Bennett Freeman, co-founder of the Cotton Campaign, Uzbekistan has implemented the historic reforms needed to end forced labor and transform the country’s cotton sector.
The abolition of the «cotton boycott», as well as large-scale reforms in the textile sector, about which a lot has been said, led primarily to an increase in exports of textile products several times – up to3.2 billion USD. In 2022, sustainability, traceability and transparency in the supply chain have been achieved. Moreover, the lifting of the boycott gave a new impetus to step up efforts to attract international brands and retailers in Uzbekistan. Negotiations, for further cooperation, are currently underway with many of them.
A significant event for the industry in Uzbekistan is the launch of the Better Cotton and Better Work programs, whose activities in the country testify to the sustainability of the textile and clothing industry, its compliance with international requirements and standards, and the quality of products. The Association became a member of the American Apparel and Footwear Association, a member of the United Nations Forum on Sustainable Development Standards (UNFSS), and Uzbekistan was represented for the first time at the Global Fashion Summit in Stockholm.
The most important achievement is the creation of an attractive environment for investors in the country as a result of textile reforms and the subsequent abolition of the «cotton boycott». So, over the past 2017-2022, due to the implementation of about 430 new projects worth 3.6 billion USD, in total more than 95 thousand new jobs were created. To date, about 600 thousand people are involved in the industry.
– The uniqueness of the industry also lies in the fact that the capacity for processing cotton fiber within the country has been increased to 100%, while other «textile» countries can only dream about that. Could you give us some thoughts on this?