SEPEE: Exports are an one-way road for enterprises in the clothing and textile sector

Exports are an one-way road for enterprises in the clothing and textile sector, after losing a total of 4.3 billion euros in the period 2009-2015 as a result of a decline in domestic consumption, Vasilis Masselos, president of the Hellenic Fashion Industry Association (SEPEE), addressing an annual general assembly of the association.

Masselos underlined that an economic crisis in Greece has dramatically affected the clothing and textile sectors and noted that a decline in clothing consumption surpassed 52 pct in the period 2009-2015, or a loss of 4.3 billion euros annually for the market which fell to 4.2 billion euros in 2015 from 8.5 bln in 2009.

A continuation of capital controls in the market, additional tax measures, lack of liquidity combined with high cost of money and a high unemployment rate, all combined in negatively affecting business in the sector, Masselos said, adding that “an exceptionally negative economic environment does not seem to be able to change soon”.

He underlined the need for greater extroversion of companies in the clothing and textile sectors and said that the association organized 21 events in 10 different countries, with a total of 187 enterprises participating. “SEPEE operates as a specialized sectorial agency of extroversion,” Masselos said.

He also referred to the need to draft a national action plan in the fashion industry (clothing/footwear/textile) moving on three basic axes:

Export growth, boosting liquidity and raising employment.

Masselos said export growth should be made on “purely sectorial orientation, in sectors with internationally commercial products” and urged for speedier VAT returns to exporters and easier access to low-cost loans to enterprises focusing on exports and investments. He noted that an immediate reduction in corporate taxation was necessary and a decline in the high energy cost -particularly natural gas- which leads to a deindustrialization of the country.

SEEP reiterated the need for creating special economic zones at the borders with Bulgaria and FYROM with competitive tax and employment costs.