Fedustria, the not-for-profit trade association of the textile, wood and furniture industry in Belgium, says that activity in the sector nationally was generally successful in 2016. Within the textile industry, last years’ turnover almost stayed at the same level as the previous year at €6.1 billion (an increase of 0.1%). This sector employs nearly 20,000 workers (a volume which has remained at the same level).
The furniture industry’s turnover increased by 3.5% to €2.5 billion. Around 43% of this was produced by the domestic market. The turnover of the wood-processing industry increased by 6.6%.
Fa Quix, the Managing Director of Fedustria, explained, “The overall employment rate stabilised with around 38,500 jobs across the three sectors. For the first time in thirty years, employment has not declined in the textile industry.”
He went on, “For 2017, Fedustria is anticipating a slight increase in production and turnover, with a stable employment rate.”
However, the sector considers that Brexit, set in motion today (Wednesday), by the British Prime Minister Theresa May invoking Article 50 as planned, represents a challenge for both the textile and wood industries.
Fa Quix considers, “Fedustria is arguing for a Brexit which continues to favour trade as at present, negotiated in a rational and realistic way. Such an approach would allow us to best avoid tariff and administrative barriers.”
He believes, “Free trade remains the main lever for our industry and therefore for our well-being as a country, and that of Europe as a whole.”