In the long sequence of events that began with the entry of China into the World Trade Organization (in 2001) and culminated in the Israel-Hamas war, this “is one of the most challenging moments for the sector”, but it is also a moment in which businesspeople will show that they can lead “the new world that is emerging”, said Mário Jorge Machado at the 25th Textile Industry Forum.
The president of the ATP was speaking at the State of the Nation speech on textiles and national clothing, strongly impacted by “the entry of China into the WTO, the pandemic and the consequent breakdown of supply chains and changing consumption profile, wars, and increasing energy costs and finally with the new Israel-Hamas war”.
“All of this has direct impacts on the sector”, Mário Jorge Machado recalled – which is why it has proven to be “a resilient sector”. Among other reasons, because “we believe in ourselves and our projects”. “We are entering a new world, with new challenges”, “with sustainability and circularity in mind”, sponsored “by new European Union legislation”. The Portuguese textile and clothing industry has shown that it knows how to remain at the forefront of responding to these challenges: “We create trends”, and the World recognizes the national innovation.
Mário Jorge Machado did not fail to highlight the contribution of associations to this empowerment: “I must highlight the contribution of the European federation Euratex in the process with Brussels. Without strong textiles, without negotiating capacity, we will not be able to get our message across to influence policy.” And it is worth remembering that, within the Euratex framework, ATP has an increasingly important role”.
Among the various new obligations, said the ATP president, are the ESG – Environmental, Social, and Governance rules – which are a kind of culmination (or perhaps another stage) of the commitment to sustainability and circularity. But this, said Mário Jorge Machado, is an opportunity and not a threat – especially because, within the European Union, the rules will be the same for everyone (internal and external producers who want to sell in the bloc of 27).
“Political decision-makers are hearing us. The rules will be mandatory for anyone who wants to sell in Europe, and associations play an important role. For two reasons: because we cannot have a clean Europe and a dirty planet and because external producers will have to invest in sustainability”.