The Colombian Institute of Export and Fashion (Inexmoda) will be launching its 22nd annual “Colombiatex de las Americas” trade fair in Medellin on Tuesday.
With the hope of bringing together various stakeholders in the Colombian textile and apparel industry, Colombiatex will offer attendees the opportunity to learn about new industry trends, and network with producers, distributors, and buyers.
In an interview in El Mundo the director of Inexmoda, Carlos Eduardo Botero, highlighted various issues of importance that will be touched upon during the fair, such as how to respond to the recent crisis posed to the industry. According to Botero, exports have dropped significantly in the last year, going from “US$1.7 billion in October of 2008 to US$1.063 billion in October of 2009.”
One of the principal causes for the drop was the deterioration in the relationship between Colombia and Venezuela. “In regards to Venezuela, which accounts for 52% of exports, the apparels [exports] have fallen 67%, and textiles 3%,” Botero went on to explain.
Another factor that contributed to the weak performance of textile and apparel exports was the appreciation of the Colombian peso and the depreciation of the dollar, which made Colombian exports relatively more expensive in foreign markets, thus decreasing their competitiveness.
Botero had a simple answer to the question of how to combat the crisis facing his industry, “I think we have to look for new markets.”
According to Botero, markets like “Central America, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico and the United States can generate business opportunities in the meantime.”
Combined with the free trade agreement signed with Guatemala, and the expected agreement with Canada, Colombian textile and apparel exporters will have ample opportunities to focus on new foreign markets.
The trade fair, whose official theme this year is “functionality,” will feature 400 exhibitors, of which 40% will be internationals, reports Colombian newspaper El Colombiano.
Apart from the exhibitors, organizers also expect about 1500 international buyers and 3000 Colombian buyers to attend the fair. Including walk-in visitors, between 8000 and 9000 people are expected to attend.
The fair, which starts on Tuesday and will run until Thursday, will take place at Plaza Mayor in Medellin.
For more information, visit Colombiatex’s official website.