Turkish clothes makers to profit from coronavirus panic

Several fashion retailers have been in contact with Turkish firms to move their manufacturing operations from coronavirus-hit China to Turkey, with the initial investment estimated to bring in as much as $2 billion, Reuters reported on Friday.

“China has some $170 billion ready-to-wear exports,” Hadi Karasu, head of Turkish Clothing Manufacturers’ Association (TGSD), was quoted by Reuters as saying. “According to our calculations some 1% of orders will [now] be shifting to Turkey initially which could amount to $2 billion.”

Due to travel restrictions and health concerns, designers and purchasing managers can’t visit China, Karasu said, where a new strain of coronavirus originating from China has killed 637 to date and caused a global panic over a spread of contamination.

Countries have already imposed restrictions on travelers to China and halted Chinese imports as precautions.

“I think the impact of the outbreak will continue for 5-6 months...and I think there will be a major shift from China that we will see after May,” said Mustafa Gültepe, head of the Istanbul Apparel Exporters’ Association (İHKİB).

Turkish textile manufacturing industry has the capacity to meet the increased demand, Gültepe added.

Turkey’s ready-to-wear export business brought in $17.7 billion last year. Any increase could help to prevent the growth of current account deficit and meet the government’s 5% forecast for economic growth in 2020.