The new world (dis)order
TI 17 - JUNE 22

Paulo Vaz

Direction Assistant – ATP (Portuguese Textile and Clothing Association)

e are currently living times of profound paradigm transformation. Everything changed two years ago with the COVID19 pandemic and now things are changing again with Russia’s invasion to Ukraine, bringing war to Europe once more and raising the spectrum of a nuclear conflict. 

All of the above is having a profound impact in the international order, until now founded on the globalization process. Thanks to it we have benefited from a long period of great freedom in the circulation of people, capital and goods. We have democratized access to a great number of goods and services and controlled inflation, thus lifting hundreds of people in several parts of the world out of misery. In contrast we have witnessed the exit of transformation activities, such as textile and clothing, from industrialised countries erasing these skills and know-how memory to transfer them to distant geographies, which we have become dangerously dependent on. 

Everything changed suddenly but amongst general uncertainty something is certain: we will not go back to 2019 and so we have to adapt to the new challenges. In this new era it is not a catastrophe that the world’s epicentre is located exclusively in Asia / Pacific. The need for common defence and safety unites the United States and the European Union, creating a new centrality in the North Atlantic and making room for the negotiation of a new agreement of free commerce and investment between the two biggest economic blocks in the world, dragging Latin America as well to finally ratify the agreement between European Union and Mercosul.   

The innovative and competitive Portuguese Textile and Clothing industry has a great deal to gain with all this, as long as there is resilience and public policies targeted to precise and reproductive support, able to offer the possible way for the best to prevail and for the sector to survive, better and stronger. Today, as well as yesterday and certainly tomorrow.