Call From VDMA: Let Us Stand Up Together For Free Trade And Against Protectionism!

Germany is one of the world's leading suppliers, especially in the textile machinery. Managing Director of VDMA Textile Machinery Association Thomas Waldmann said that, “Let us stand up together for what made our business globally successful: For free trade and against protectionism!”

Call From VDMA: Let Us Stand Up Together For Free Trade And Against Protectionism!

Germany is one of the world’s leading suppliers, especially in the textile machinery. Managing Director of VDMA Textile Machinery Association Thomas Waldmann said that, “Let us stand up together for what made our business globally successful: For free trade and against protectionism!”

Germany ranks the first in the export of machinery for texturing weavable materials with a share of 331 million USD. Germany ranks the first with a share of 840 million USD in the export of fibers and yarns, 409 million dollars in the export of felt and nonwoven fabric finishing machinery, 708 million USD in the export of textile machinery spare parts, and 1.045 billion USD in the export of dye finishing machinery. In the exports of sewing machines, Germany is second only to China and Vietnam with 484 million USD.

Among the countries from where Turkey imports the largest textile machinery, Germany ranks the first.

According to statistics published by Turkish Statistics Agency, Turkey has imported 1804 pieces of circular knitting machines with a total value of 86.7 million USD in 2018. 637 of these machines were imported from China, and 616 were imported from Germany.

There are 120 Textile Technology Manufacturers within the scope of VDMA

Thomas Waldmann, Managing Director of VDMA Textile Machinery Association

The Textile Machinery Association is one of more than 30 trade associations within VDMA. The roundabout 120 textile technology manufacturers organized within the VDMA Textile Machinery Association represent approximately 95 % of Germany’s total production volume in this field.

VDMA companies continue to provide their partners the technology that is required to remain competitive in the textile world. The main activities of the Textile Machinery Association are economic and technical representation of the branch’s interests, exchange of experiences as well as services such as statistics, observation of significant markets and reporting on the situation in the textile industry throughout the world.

We made a special interview with Thomas Waldmann, Managing Director of VDMA Textile Machinery Association for our ‘German Special Edition’.

How is the German textile and textile machinery market currently performing? Which markets were developing and declining for the German textile machinery industry?

Since autumn 2018, the economic situation in the textile machinery sector has become increasingly gloomy. During 2019, however, a bottom was reached. The trade conflict between China and the USA noticeably impacted business in the People’s Republic, the largest sales market. Chinese customers were very reluctant to invest. Although countries in Southeast Asia, such as Vietnam, are benefiting from the situation, demand from this region cannot compensate for the overall decline in incoming orders. Business is also very sluggish in other large volume markets, such as Turkey and India. Some markets, however, are performing well, e.g. Uzbekistan.

What trends have you noticed in the textile market recently?

The main trend is Industry 4.0 and digitisation The future of textile industry is more and more determined by Industry 4.0. It has many dimensions and possible fields of application – in three of them (Smart Services, Operations and Factory), key solutions are provided by the machinery industry. At ITMA in Barcelona 2019 we already saw real Industry 4.0 solutions from VDMA member companies. For example, intelligent machine assistance systems that monitor the settings of the entire production in the background. Deviations are immediately signalled to the machine operator and suggestions for trouble shooting or optimisation are displayed.

What developments have VDMA members achieved in the European market over the past 12 months?

Also in the European marekt, sales have been difficult in the last 12 months.

What industrial and economic challenges are currently impacting VDMA’s member companies, and how are they responding to them?

Many things we took for granted in international relations have changed or are still changing. That is true for politics as it is for the economy. The frameworks have become more uncertain. Protectionism is not just an American issue. We see these tendencies in other regions, too. What needs to be done? Let us stand up together for what made our business globally successful: For free trade and against protectionism!

What are your expectations for 2020?

The order intake has stabilised in the meanwhile. However, a radical recovery of the markets is not expected in the next months. Although the trade conflict betwenn China and the US has been de-escalated in the last weeks, the market environment remains subject to great uncertainty.

Interview: Dilek HAYIRLI

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