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 Exclusive Interview with Mr. Navdeep Sodhi for Khoyout Magazine

Khoyout Magazine had the opportunity to interview Mr. Navdeep Sodhi a partner in of Gherzi Textil Organization about Textile Industrial Parks and its importance and effect on the economic progress of developing Countries.  Gherzi Textile Organisation has a wide experience in setting Textile Parks in countries like India, Ethiopia, Nigeria and China.  Gherzi in collaboration with CTMTC ( China Texmatech Co. LTD) have been awarded lately contract for feasibility and Master Plan for Textile Parks in Egypt.  The project was awarded by the IMC ( Industrial Modernization Center), supported by The Ministry of Trade & Industry and financed by the Central Bank of Egypt.  

  • What would be the salient features of establishing a textile park?

 

Industrial parks have played a significant role in the economic progress of many developing countries in Asia and Africa. By adopting a cluster-based approach, the governments were able to direct the resources in an efficient manner. The main feature of textile parks is to create a world-class infrastructure. The four key features in creation of textile parks are

a)       World-class infrastructure in terms of land, utilities and common facilities

b)       Policy & incentives and legal framework

c)       Attracting FDI is a key target for the parks, although it’s not limited to the same

d)       Integrated value chain

e)       e)Sustainable business model as textile parks should operate on a self-sufficient basis

 

  • How do you plan for the parks in terms of size and proximity to Labor, raw materials and ports?

The location and planning of textile parks is based on two sets of criteria a) Specific factors having an influence on the techno-economic feasibility of the park and b) Government policy objectives of socio-economic and industrial development in the country. An ideal park harmonizes the two interests. A study of the major textile parks in major countries in Asia and Africa reflects these two criteria. The size of textile & apparel parks can range from 10 ha to 1000 ha and depending on the client requirements and viability.

 

  • What would be the model textile park in your opinion created ever by Gherzi?

It’s difficult to quote one specific case however a model park should provide an enabling environment in terms of an efficient common infrastructure and ease of doing business.

 

  • What is Gherzi’s experience in developing textile parks

Well, Gherzi boasts of an experience of over 90 years in the industry, having been founded in Switzerland in 1929 with a global presence.Gherzi’s advantages are a) Understanding of the entire textile value chain from fibers to fashion b) Planning expertise in terms of technical, economic feasibility and master plan and c) Familiarity with policy framework adopted by different countries in terms of best practices. Therefore, Gherziclients, both in public and private sector, benefit from this wealth of experience. Gherzi has planned textile parks in several countries such as India, China, Bangladesh, Viet Nam and sub Saharan Africa.

 

  • How do you divide and plan for a Textile Park, meaning are there separate clusters for apparel, yarn and textile?  

Typically, textile parks are integrated and specialized. The aim is to create an integrated cluster within one geographical area.Usually, textile and apparel parks are independent if it’s over a smaller area however for large clusters, and both segments are the value chain are integrated. It’s important to understand that the textile industry requires a much heavier infrastructure in terms of power, energy, and water and land area vis-à-vis apparel manufacturing which requires light infrastructure in terms of buildings and efficient logistics.

  • Do you believe that the textile parks is considered a leap for encouraging investments for the industry in Egypt?

Gherzi lauds the vision of the Egyptian government and policy makers to envisage the establishment of a world-class textile parks in the country. This will generate investment and employment, boost exports and bring modern industrial practices into Egypt. Indeed, this could be a major catalyst for fast-tracking the development of the textile & apparel industry in the country, especially to attract FDI.One should appreciate that the biggest challenge a foreign investor faces in a new destination is land and infrastructure, so if this is facilitated, he can focus on the business!

  • Concerning the new Textile Park in Egypt, what are its features and what will be unique about it?

Gherzi is planning the new textile park in Egypt in collaboration with its international partner China TexmatechGroup (CTMTC).The park would consist of a world-class common infrastructure and a clear policy framework. The master plan would serve as a marketing tool for the policy makers and a model for replicating it for several such parks in future. A unique feature would be that the government will be marketing it with the help of its international consultants i.e., CTMTC Gherzi.

  • How do you see the progress of the textile industry either now or in the future?

Egypt, with its historical legacy and ambitions of modern private enterprises has further potentials to develop its textile & apparel industry. First, it should recover the lost ground in recent years and then accelerate the development in next 5 years. Egypt currently exports $ 2.5 to 3.0 bn worth of textiles & apparel whereas its imports are to the tune of $ 3 to 4 bn. There is a potential to bridge the deficit. As the global textile industry is undergoing restructuring, Egypt has an opportunity.

  • Do you think that Egypt with the current economic development have become more attractive for foreign investors?

Egypt is perceived as an attractive destination for textile & apparel investment and trade due to several factors. One, the new Investment Law of2017 offers incentives for new investment and second the macro-economic policies including the exchange rate. Creation of an enabling environment will attract new investment and boost trade. Having said that, several countries are competing and laying out the red carpet for FDI.

  • Do you suggest any economic decisions to be implemented by the government to achieve industrial leaps in textile production?

For the new textile parks a policy framework will have to be made. For realizing Egypt’s vision of increasing textile &apparel exports to $ 10 bn and providing skills to 750, 000, attracting new investment, both local and foreign would be paramount.

*Mr. Navdeep Sodhi has 3 decades of international experience in the textile & clothing industry.His expertise includes strategic policy and international trade and investment. He consults for international development institutions and the corporate textile industry organizations worldwide. Mr. Sodhi is a Partner at Gherzi Textil Organisation, Switzerland.