For many, the mention of Egypt usually conjures up romantic images of camels and golden sand, weather-worn pyramids and Pharaohs, ancient mummies and hieroglyphics.
Few people around the world associate Egypt with a vibrant textile industry; nevertheless, Egypt is one of the world’s major players.
The Egyptian textile industry dates back as far as the pharaohs and, today, accounts for 25% of the total Egyptian industry and 30% of the nation’s jobs.
Second largest industry in the country, the apparel industry produces over 300 million garments a year and more than 300,000 tons of cloth.
If you have ever bought nice bed sheets, then you have probably heard of Egyptian cotton. The phrase alone, 100% Egyptian cotton, can be equated with a solid guarantee of high quality.
What makes Egypt competitive? Until now labor, raw materials, and input costs have been relatively low. Egypt had also signed numerous free trade agreements with the US, the EU, and some Arab countries. Moreover, the government offered assorted incentives.
Nevertheless, the textile industry is not without problems, which have recently been exasperated by the current unrest with curfews and shipping delays.
Although this turmoil will pass, no one knows how the Egyptian textile industry will be defined.
My guess, it may require some time to rebuild, but the industry will continue to churn out those luxurious sheets…and more!
Textiles and finely woven cotton are the mainstays of the Egyptian economy.
Photo Courtesy Scott Chan.