The Textile Sector and the Syrian Crisis
Enab Baladi Issue # 89 – Sun, Nov. 03, 2013
The national industry, the basis of the nation economy, has been experiencing many difficulties that weakened its work during the past two years. It already had permanent problems to begin with. Textile industries form an important hub in the industrial, public and private sectors. They consider one of the industries that make its own local and foreign markets. However, the current crisis reduces the amount of their work and puts many obstacles in their faces.
Textile industry had many losses in the last two years due to the damage of a big number of its factories from and for the economic decline that led to the rise in the costs of production and to the prevention of the Syrian products from Arab and European markets, after the economic sanctions were imposed on Syria. After the price of textile exports income reached approximately 3 billion dollars, it declined to approximately 104.3 million dollars in 2011 and it did not exceed 38 million dollars in 2012.
Syrian General Organization for Textile Industries declared that the losses of public sectors of textiles were 17.6 billion Syrian pounds i.e. 135 million dollars since the outbreak of the crisis. The direct losses of the sector, which included stealing and destruction of machines, were 4.7 billion Syrian pound, while the indirect losses, that related to the expected profits, were 2.10 billion Syrian pounds.
Textile factories are placed in the main cities such as Aleppo which is the most important one and there are around 70% of textile factories in it. However, today and because of the battles in its streets, all industries in Aleppo are stopped. 75% of the city’s factories are out of service and that is according to articles in some websites. Moreover, the factories, that still produce, work in an about 10% of its productive capacity. This leads the manufacturers to leave the country and look for chances in investments in other countries such as Turkey, Egypt and other Arab countries. There are approximately 130 Syrian textile factories in Egypt only.
The prices of textile products are increasing just like the prices of main and luxurious goods in Syrian markets. Clothing prices are increasing and currently are at rates ranging between 100-400% based on the mood of the merchants and to the region they work in. This leads the citizens to abandon their locally made clothes and go to the markets of second-hand clothes that are also known as “bala”.
The transformation of the Syrian textile industries to neighboring countries, and the migration of industrialists from Syria are no less painful than what the Syrians live in the light of the ongoing war in the country, they see their economy collapsing before their eyes without a way to stop this bleeding that threatens their future.