Textiles and clothing has a long tradition in the Euro-Mediterranean area (EU and Mediterranean partner countries and the Western Balkans). The manufacture and the export of textile and clothing products, as the second most-traded goods (after oil and gas) and a priority sector in the region, are a factor in economic development and political stability in the Mediterranean partner countries. The value of trade in the textile and clothing industry in the Euro-Mediterranean area reaches EUR 35 billion a year. Around 35% of all EU exported textiles go to the region.
Although our Mediterranean partners and the Western Balkans already have a strong manufacturing base in textiles and clothing, there is a need to develop the sector into a more competitive, value-added, innovative and knowledge-based industry. So it is the right time to focus on the innovative and creative aspects of textile and clothing industries to help deliver results such as a deeper industrial partnership and better jobs as part of the Euro-Mediterranean Dialogue on the textile and clothing industry.
The Euro-Mediterranean Dialogue on the textile and clothing industry was launched at the Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Meeting on Industry in Caserta, Italy in 2004. It has since been conducted successfully as the only sector-based industrial dialogue with Mediterranean partner countries.
The Dialogue provides a platform for an exchange of experiences and information on available instruments and initiatives to improve the competitiveness of the textile and clothing industry across the Euro-Mediterranean area.
The participants represent national administrations, industrial associations, chambers of commerce, enterprises, trade unions, research and educational centres involved with textile and clothing sector from the entire pan-Euro-Mediterranean area. The 49 contracting parties to the Convention on pan-Euro-Mediterranean rules of origin are EU countries, our Mediterranean partners and, since 2013, countries from the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the Western Balkans.
The Euro-Mediterranean Dialogue is given as an example of successful sectorial industrial cooperation in documents on the European Neighbourhood Policy and in the activities of the Working Party on Euro-Mediterranean Industrial Cooperation.
In the context of the Dialogue, the European Commission services have organised the following events: