ECONOMY

Textile industry is upset by Chinese penetration

The Greek textile industry is crying foul as their Chinese competitors allegedly cut corners to win significant state tenders. Eleftherios Kourtalis, president of the Greek Textile Industries Association (SEVK), protested to Kathimerini that the Chinese have dominated tenders for procurement of clothing and textile products to the armed forces, adding to domestic industries’ woes. «The situation in the sector is tragic as we have also been damaged beyond repair by the Chinese products and the illicit street trading,» Kourtalis said. He suggested the problem lay in the fact that most Chinese company representatives lack the certificates required by the Development Ministry for entering tenders. Still, they manage to elbow out Greek companies, creating very serious problems for them. Already some 20 Greek enterprises, including Tria Alfa, Britannia and Elfico, have resorted to the Council of the State to protest at the injustice committed against them, Kourtalis noted. In China, he added, there is no service like the Greek boards of commerce to guarantee the operation and efficiency of any Chinese company entering a tender, a prerequisite for Greek companies. As a result, the Chinese table more competitive offers and win the tenders, causing great disappointment to SEVK members, which consider armed forces tenders their lifeline. Commenting on the textile sector’s course during 2004, Kourtalis noted that most enterprises have seen profit margins and sales shrink although he sounded a note of optimism for the future. «A slight upturn was recorded in the third quarter of 2004, owing to the exports boost, and is expected to balance out the whole year’s results.» The positive climate should continue in the new year for a number of reasons. «The fall in the price of cotton from 1.50 euros in 2004 to 0.80 euros in 2005, along with the government’s moves, the investment incentives law and the efforts of Greek enterprises to bolster exports will strengthen the sector. Note that the textile sector contributes 43-44 percent of all Greek industrial exports,» Kourtalis said.