The International Trade Centre (ITC) and the International Apparel Federation (IAF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support associations of garment manufacturers as well as garment apparel manufacturing companies in addressing emerging challenges related to competitiveness.
In addition, the cooperation will support these institutions in understanding the governance structure of the global apparel value chain and industrial relations between brands and retailers and supplying garment manufacturers.
IAF will advise garment manufacturers on rules of origin requirements, address new buyer requirements in markets, reduce the environmental footprint of garment manufacturing and empower women’s work along the supply chain. ITC and IAF will co-create trainings in this regard.
Digitalization will also play an essential role in this agreement. Amid the pandemic, digitalization has become a crucial topic for the textile and clothing industry: brands, retailers and larger suppliers are expected to modernize their production and adapt to the latest trends.
Therefore, ITC plans several activities to address digitalization for GTEX/MENATEX partners and how to engage in a more collaborative relationship with brands and retailers using digital technologies.
Matthias Knappe, head of the Fibres, Textiles and Clothing Unit at the International Trade Centre, says: “The garment sector is an ever-changing industry that requires companies to closely follow global trends and requirements to be internationally competitive and continuously export. ITC wants to ensure that its partners and beneficiary companies in developing countries have the best support to meet the environmental and human rights requirements of global buyers.”
Matthijs Crietee, Secretary-General of the International Apparel Federation, confirms the importance of this partnership: “ITC, through its GTEX and MENATEX programmes, shares with IAF a strong focus on apparel industry associations, recognizing that through the support of these organizations many companies can be supported with the continuous improvement of their competitiveness. IAF welcomes the opportunity to have its knowledge and network join forces with ITC’s knowledge and network to provide optimal support to the industry associations and their member companies involved.”
This initiative is implemented under the International Trade Centre’s Global Textiles and Clothing Programme (GTEX) in North Africa, Middle East (MENATEX), Central Asia and Madagascar.
The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically accelerated changes in the textile and clothing sector—more than ever, companies are expected to demonstrate a rigorous level of corporate responsibility and commitment. Due diligence regulations related to environmental, social, and human rights in the United States and the European Union, for example, urge companies to have a high degree of verification throughout the supply chain to be able to export to these markets.