The political situation in the Ukraine/Russia is also leading to new challenges for the textile and apparel industry in Europe. To this end, we at TextileTechnology put 3 questions to the leading industry representatives in Europe.
Here you can read what Thomas Waldmann, Managing Director, VDMA Textile Machinery Association, Frankfurt/Germany, had to say on the subject:
The textile and apparel industry is a very international as well as energy-intensive industry. What additional challenges are our industry currently facing due to the political situation in the Ukraine/Russia?
The extent to which the upcoming EU sanctions will affect the textile machinery industry in Germany and Europe can only be assessed once the specific legal texts are available. Irrespective of this, it is clear that each company must individually reassess the political risk of doing business with Russia.
What do you as an association demand from politicians in the current situation?
In acute crisis situations like now, the ball is in the governments' court. We at VDMA will discuss long-term consequences in due course, but not during firefighting.
Delivery bottlenecks, logistics problems, rising freight prices – these challenges have been occupying the industry globally for almost 2 years due to the circumstances surrounding the corona pandemic. Will the situation now be made even more difficult?
We are here talking about the economic relationship with Russia, not about global problems. These are 2 separate things. However, the situation until mid-February has been very good, and the global outlook for 2022 has recently been viewed quite positively. Nonetheless, the various cost increases, especially for energy, but also for materials and logistics, are threatening conditions for the industry in Europe. Policymakers should take the rapidly changing environmental conditions as an opportunity to fundamentally review regulatory priorities. There are multiple challenges for SMEs deriving from unbalanced political initiatives. As an example, for the textile machinery industry it is imperative that an EU supply chain law, such as the one currently being suggested by the EU Commission, is manageable and implementable for medium-sized and often family-run companies. It is therefore important that the EU Parliament and the EU Commission debate the impact of a European supply chain law on international trade. Machinery and plant manufacturers respect human rights. At the same time, unrealistic requirements for due diligence in the supply chain could cause internationally networked SMEs in particular to withdraw from certain markets in order to avoid risks. This would do no service to the global enforcement of human rights - on the contrary. Due diligence must be limited to what companies can control and where there is an obvious risk in the supply chain. Limiting due diligence to the first stage of the supply chain would be a conceivable solution to make the legal requirements more manageable for SMEs. This is the only way industry can make a difference and further increase its contribution to sustainable business management.