The new normal
TI 08 - December 2020

José Guimarães

ATP Board Member

aced with the disturbing and practically uncontrollable epidemiological growth, our expectations of health and economic recovery lead us to legitimate concerns and anxiety.

The difficulties and challenges resulting from the new abnormality require adjusted action plans, implementing dynamic and innovative processes appropriate to our textile industry, by providing best practices and valuing human resources.

In the last 40 years, the textile sector has been confronted with the stigmas and evaluations that sometimes required a vigorous intervention by bold and enlightened business players.

In the 1980s, categorized as a disqualified and uninteresting sector from the moment Portugal joined the EEC in 1986, the textile industry, fortunately, reacted positively, modernizing itself and undertaking an undeniable effort to move from monotony to creativity, from pessimism to hope, externalizing an innovative entrepreneurial ability.

Later, in 1994, a report made by Professor Michael Porter, on the initiative of Minister Mira Amaral, promoted the added value of sectors considered traditional, enabling a relevant appreciation of the textile sector for the Portuguese economy. This perception boosted its growth with a significant qualification of workers, in the growth of exports and with technological development.

At the beginning of the century, new concerns emerged with the EU establishment, and with the changes in the World Trade Organization, with a challenging impact on the free movement of goods, and consequently facing unfair competition from other countries, due to abusive and/or disrespectful socially and environmental practices.

Subsequently, with the crisis that lasted from 2008 to 2013, new adversities called for the ability to manage inherent risks, to act quickly and intelligently, defining the priorities knowledgeably.

Obviously, not all companies managed to overcome the moment with feasibility, probably as a result of financial dependence, obsolete structure and inability to compete.

In recent times, our social and business lives have changed significantly. The unknown virus is testing our abilities to the limit. This new abnormality requires, in particular from the Government, through the 2021 state budget, objective measures to incentivize and stimulate business activity, revealing unequivocal solidarity towards the business fabric, as happened during the 1st pandemic wave, and that now has been neglected and disregarded, unfortunately!

Despite this blatant lack of solidarity, we remain determined to overcome the obstacles that confront us permanently, and to resist the frequent adversities intrinsic to business activity, in order to successfully overcome the new abnormality.