Turkish textile companies seeking to widen their global outreach are exploring opportunities in Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
A delegation from the Istanbul Textile and Apparel Exporter Association (İTKİB) recently paid visits to those countries to hold talks with high-level government officials.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez received Ahmet Öksüz, the head of İTKİB and the board members of the association.
The İKTİB delegation also held meetings with officials from the Cuban Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment Ministry, the Industry Ministry and Tourism Ministry.
In the Dominican Republic, the Turkish businesspeople met with the country’s trade minister.
“We held a series of very productive meetings in Cuba and the Dominican Republic to boost bilateral trade ties,” Öksüz said.
“We are planning to organize missions such as procurement and trade delegations to turn our recent visits to those countries into trade deals,”he said.
They invited the representatives of the textile industry in Cuba and the Dominican Republic to the trade fairs in Türkiye, he added.
He recalled the Turkish textile industry’s export revenues amounted to $12.9 billion last year.
“We will focus on distant markets which offer opportunities,” Öksüz added.
The combined worth of the annual production by the Turkish textile and apparel sectors is around $80 billion, Öksüz also said.
Leather firms optimistic
Meanwhile, the Turkish leather apparel industry is optimistic about a rebound in foreign demand for its products after having seen strong attendance at the trade show held in the province of Antalya.
Companies operating in the industry have been concerned about the prospects in the wake of the war that broke out between Ukraine and Russia, the sector’s main export market.
More than 1,300 exhibitors from nearly 20 countries attended the Antalya Leather and Fur Fashion Show, boosting hopes among Turkish companies.
Despite the ongoing war, a large number of Russian companies attended the event. “We are expecting to have a large trade volume with Russia now,” said Gürkan Gözmen, the head of the Leather Garment Manufacturers’ Association of Türkiye (TFKD).
Russia and Ukraine account for 70 percent of the sector’s exports, Gözmen said.
Leather apparel exports amounted to $236 million last year, while leather and leather product shipments to foreign markets grew 10 percent in the first four months of 2023, he added.
The sector, which suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic, is recovering slowly, Gözmen said, however, warning that higher raw material and labor costs may cause problems for local companies.