In 2007, the French textile industry (including apparel) had about 900 companies (with at least 20 persons) employing 85,000 people. French textile companies (including apparel) generated a sales volume of USD 10.7 billion. In 2007, total French textile imports (including apparel) were valued at USD 9.5 billion, while total French textile exports (including apparel) for the same period amounted to USD 6.4 billion.
In 2007, the following textile sub-sectors registered an increase:
•Household textiles: plus 4.3 percent
•Men’s wear: plus 3.7 percent
•Children’s wear: plus 2.3 percent
•Women’s wear: plus 0.4 percent
In 2007, the major textile suppliers were China (18%), Italy (12%), Germany (6%), followed by Turkey (10%), India (4%), and Tunisia/Portugal/Bangladesh (4%). The ending of the quotas, which took place on January 1, 2005 still affects the textile industry considerably. China and Asia are continuing to reinforce their position as the world’s number one textile exporting region once again. Consequently, European and American suppliers have to face the challenge of competing against low-prices and large supplies, representing a real challenge. United States textile exports to France are mainly composed of sportswear and technical textiles. The advantages of American suppliers are their know-how and their ability to adapt quickly to the change and create new products.
Technical textiles, representing about 9% of the textile industry, are particularly present in the following industries:
- Transportation (26 percent)
- Sport and Leisure (15 percent)
- Construction (7 percent)
- Medical (6 percent)
- Agriculture (6 percent)
- Packaging (5 percent)
- Industrial protection (5 percent)
- Miscellaneous industries (15 percent)
The U.S. technical textile manufacturers have a strong reputation for their technological know-how. Their new challenge is to develop functional textiles called “textiles of the future” for the following industries: construction, medical, health and wellness, and “techno-textiles” for the sportswear.
Best prospects within this sector are: •Textiles based on comfort, health and safety for the sport/leisure market (i.e.: anti-bacterial, anti-odor, insect repellent, and breathable products); •Techno-textiles with electronic devices and communication systems incorporated into the garments; •Technical textiles for transportation (automotive and aeronautics) and health industries (hospitals, personal care, hygiene).
The best opportunities will be offered to U.S. companies that are able to innovate new technologies and develop innovative products which are in real demand.