Sunday 2 December 2012

Challenges of the Man Made Fibre Industry in the EU Context

Frédéric van Houte, Director General of CIRFS European Man-Made Fibres Association, (Belgium) provided the 2011 fibre production statistics:

  • ·         Of the 81.9 million tonnes of fibres produced in the World, 54.2 mt were man-made, the vast majority of the remaining natural fibres being cotton.
  • ·         China produced 60% of the man-made, Europe and India 9% each and the USA 5%.
  • ·         38.7 million tonnes of polyester were produced along with 4.5 million tonnes of man-made cellulosics and 3.75 million tonnes of PP.
For Europe the main challenges were raw material prices (fibres were competing with plastics and paper for resources), labour prices (the EU has the world’s highest labour costs), and the burdens of EU legislation, especially environmental.  Massive global overcapacity in polyester (utilisation now only 80% and falling), massive subsidies for cotton farmers and the growth of protectionism provided additional external challenges.

(From Dornbirn Sept 2012 Conference)

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