Mild recovery of the textile industry in Serbia

Serbia has 1,600 registered textile production, with the Serbian textile industry is being slowly revived by the arrival of large investors in the past decade who are opening factories and employing thousands of workers.

In the previous year, both textile imports and exports have grown.

One of the sectors with the longest tradition in Serbia used to employ more than 250,000 workers. Devastated by sanctions, transition and privatization, the textile industry has not recovered to this day. However, the textile factories across Serbia have embarked on the process of reconstruction.

“Currently, 61,000 workers are employed in the textile industry, and the average net salary in the sector in 2022 was about 55,000 dinars. We are currently facing a workforce shortage. However, we hope that in the future, with investments in resources in training, skills, research and digitization, there will be an opportunity to improve things in the sector,” says Milica Ljubojević from the Serbian Chamber of Commerce.

Due to the lack of workforce, Serbia has to „import“ textile workers. Materials and other products mostly come from Turkey, China, Italy and other countries of the European Union, to which we export 80 percent of our products. And while exports are growing, production is declining.

However, the Chamber says that the textile industry experienced a slight recovery after the pandemic, with many companies from abroad planning to relocate production facilities from the Far East to Europe, which will be a great opportunity for our industry and workers.

“The Far East countries were predominantly chosen because of cheap labour, so I believe that we will have to offer something more to our textile workers such as additional education, investing in development of their skills and digitization, in order to be more competitive,” explains Ljubojević.

Serbia recently signed the Bucharest Declaration for a sustainable future of the textile industry, along with four other regional countries, which follows the goals of the European strategy for the textile sector’s development until 2030. One of the main goals is environmental protection as the textile industry is one of the biggest polluters of the environment.

(RTS, 26.04.2023)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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