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A Welcome From Halit Narin

ITMF president discusses 2009 conference plans, federation goals and the state of the textile industry marketplace.

Jürg Rupp, Executive Editor

T he 2009 ITMF Annual Conference will take place in Shanghai, October 23-25. In an exclusive interview with Textile World , Halit Narin, International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF) president since 2008, welcomed the global delegates to Shanghai and reflected on ITMF and the future of the global textile industry.

TW: Mr. Narin, the 2009 ITMF Annual Conference will take place in Shanghai. Please welcome our readers to the conference.
Narin: As president of ITMF, I am pleased to invite all the leaders and representatives of the international textile industry to our annual conference. The manufacturers and especially the textile industrialists all around the world are passing through a difficult period because of the global economic crisis. And at this period, we put special emphasis on this meeting, at which we will discuss many issues and the future of textiles. In 2008, our federation accepted China into the membership of ITMF, and this year, our new member association, the China National Textile and Apparel Council (CNTAC), will host the ITMF annual conference.


Structural Adjustments

TW : What do you expect from the conference in Shanghai?
Narin: This year, our federation has chosen Shanghai as the venue of the conference, and the general theme of the conference is defined as "Structural Adjustments in the World Textile Industry." The annual conference provides a world forum for the textile industry to discuss matters of common interest. This year, we will meet in China, the country that possesses the largest textile manufacturing capacity in the world. I expect that we will have a very successful conference and that the carefully selected topics and the competent speakers in each session of the conference and the discussions will contribute to our understanding of the world economy in general and textile industry in particular.

ITMF: Representing
The Global Textile Industry

TW : Why should the delegates come to Shanghai?
Narin: ITMF is the international body that represents the textile industry worldwide. I hope and expect that ITMF will draw a large number of members of the textile chain in Shanghai and China, and will provide the participants with the opportunity to become informed about the current developments in the economy and textile industry, and to exchange views. The delegates will listen to speakers from diversified sectors of the economy, finance and industry. I should also mention that Turkey's member association, the Turkish Textile Employers' Association, has invited Gerhard Schröder, former Chancellor of Germany, to give a keynote address during our conference. He is an excellent speaker with a deep knowledge of international political and economic affairs, and I believe the delegates will be interested to listen to Mr. Schröder. In addition to very interesting sessions on fibers, textiles and retail industry, we also will have a workshop on innovation and innovative textiles. A visit to the China International Trade Fair for Apparel Fabrics and Accessories (Intertextile Shanghai) 2009 is also included in our conference program. I strongly believe the delegates will benefit from the conference's extensive program.

Halit Narin

TW : You are the current ITMF president. What were the reasons to become president of ITMF?
Narin: During my business life, I have always believed in collective and team work and have been a member of various industrial and sectoral organizations and also have presided over several organizations in Turkey. I am still president of the Turkish Textile Employers' Association, which joined ITMF in 1974. Since that time, we have closely followed the activities of our federation, and through the federation's reports and meetings we have been informed of the developments in the world textile industry.

In 2004, the year in which we commemorated the centennial of the federation, members of the ITMF Committee of Management elected me vice president of the federation. After serving as vice president, I was elected in 2008 to the presidency of ITMF. I have taken over that office with honor, commitment and plans for the future of the federation.

Go For The Best

TW : What is your personal philosophy in business?
Narin: In business, as an industrialist and entrepreneur, I work always to achieve the best. In my business life, I have always had an approach of respecting social balances. I have adopted as a principle to carry out activities for the healthy functioning of the economy, with the belief that production is the heart of the economy and the entrepreneurs are the brain of the economy.

TW : What is your philosophy as ITMF president?
Narin: As ITMF president, I focus my ideas, considerations and representative work mainly on the development of textiles, a sector that has a history parallel to that of humanity and also a future throughout the life of humanity. For the future of textiles, ITMF must provide textile manufacturers with the right information and opinions to achieve success under the current global conditions.

TW : What are your targets as ITMF president?
Narin: Together with the Board members, we will have to move forward to strengthen the reputation of the federation in the global textile arena. My targets are to create an even more active and effective organization, thus to represent the textile industry worldwide - and furthermore, to make ITMF an opinion leader and to strengthen the membership base of ITMF at a time when the textile manufacturing industry is in a period of transition.

Current Market Situation

TW : How do you see the current market situation for the textile industry?
Narin: The financial crisis has become a global crisis for the real economy. The economic activity in developed and also developing countries fell in the final quarter of 2008 and in the first quarter of 2009. Unemployment has increased. Tighter financial conditions, together with increased uncertainty, caused individuals to delay purchases, and companies to reduce production and cut back investment expenditures. Under these general conditions, the outlook of the textile manufacturing industry is not different. The world textile industry has been seriously affected by the global economic crisis. During an era of slower economic growth, underutilization of manufacturing capacity and declining sales dominate also the textile sector.

Signs Of Recovery

TW : Do you see signs of recovery?
Narin: As far as the economic indicators are concerned and according to the report of the World Bank, global output is forecast to fall by 2.9 percent and world trade by nearly 10 percent in 2009. Despite the decline in gross domestic product, a number of indicators point to the beginning of a recovery. Fiscal stimulus measures, and modest improvements in exports in some countries and in consumer demand are among the factors pointing to the beginning of recovery. However, several factors point to continued weakness - mainly, unemployment continues to rise worldwide. Consequently, the timing and strength of the awaited recovery in the global economy remains uncertain.

Nonetheless, textiles will have a successful future. There will always be consumer demand for both traditional and innovative products in the textile sector, and our industry will survive by adjusting to the changing conditions.

September/October 2009