06TBILISI2668, GEORGIA TEXTILES AND APPAREL SECTOR:UPDATED

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06TBILISI2668 2006-10-04 12:50 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO9462
RR RUEHAST
DE RUEHSI #2668/01 2771250
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 041250Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4258
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 002668 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/CARC AND EB/TPP/ABT:TLERSTEN 
COMMERCE FOR ITA/OTEXA:MDANDREA 
STATE PASS USTR FOR ABIOLA HEYLIGER 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: EIND ETRD GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA TEXTILES AND APPAREL SECTOR:UPDATED 
STATISTICS AND PROJECTION OF FUTURE COMPETITIVENESS 
 
REF: A. STATE 138090 
 
     B. TBILISI 2128 
 
TBILISI 00002668  001.3 OF 002 
 
 
1. Pursuant to Ref A Embassy Tbilisi provides the following 
statistics and information regarding the textile sector in 
Georgia. 
 
2.  Statistics (2005 data): 
 
Total industrial production (USD thousands): 1,158,267 
Total textiles and apparel production (USD thousands): 7,745 
Textile/apparel share of Georgian imports: 2.6% 
Textile apparel share of Georgian exports: 1.0% 
Exports in textiles and apparel to the United States 
   (USD thousands): 74 (Georgian Statistics Office figure) 
   (USD thousands): 550 (U.S. Census figure) 
Total industrial employment, including mining 83,497 (2006: 
82598) 
Total textiles and total apparel employment 2,024 (2006: 2420) 
 
3.  Post interviewed Georgian Ministry of Trade officials and 
Davit Jinjaradze, Financial Director of Georgia's largest 
textile manufacturer, Batumitex, to obtain the following 
information. 
 
4.  Q. Are host country producers receiving lower prices due 
to heightened international competition?  Have manufacturers 
received more, less, or the same number of orders as in years 
past?  Have foreign investors, particularly  Asian investors, 
closed factories or otherwise pulled out of local production? 
 
 
A. Textile production in Georgia, like manufacturing of all 
products, was devastated by the economic dislocation caused 
by the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.  The Georgian 
Department of Statistics lists 129 producers of textiles. 
Many of these may not be functioning or do not export from 
Georgia.  One company, Batumitex, was established in 2001 by 
Greenoak, Ltd. the Danish-owned port operator in Batumi. 
Greenoak has since sold part of the business to Low Profile, 
a Turkish company.  Batumitex sews 100,000 garments a month, 
destined for sale in Marks and Spencer stores in Europe.  As 
everywhere, prices of textiles and apparel produced in 
Georgia are probably lower than they would otherwise be 
because of competition from China and other countries of the 
Far East.  However, prospects for the industry in Georgia 
seem to be improving because of political and economic 
changes in Georgia resulting in lower taxes and tariffs, more 
reliable availability of electricity and other utilities, and 
increasing wages in Turkey.  According to Batumitex and the 
Turkish Consul in Batumi, two new textile factories employing 
1000 people each are planned for Adjara, financed by Turkish 
investment (Ref B).  We are not aware of any Asian investors 
in textile production, and have not seen any reports that 
Asian investors have closed factories or pulled out of the 
Georgian market.  Batumitex and other textile producers are 
able to import their inputs duty free so long as they are 
re-exported. 
 
5.  Q. Have U.S. and EU restrictions on certain exports of 
textiles and apparel from China, effective through 2008, 
affected export prospects for host country manufacturers? 
 
A. Exports of textiles from Georgia to the United States are 
negligible, so it is difficult to gauge the effect of 
restrictions on Chinese exports.  More important are EU 
limits on exports from Turkey.  Turkish investors in Batumi 
are seeking to take advantage of unused EU quotas for 
Georgian textile exports. 
 
6.  Q. Has the host government implemented, or is it 
considering implementing, safeguards or other measures to 
reduce growth of imports of Chinese textile and apparel 
products into the host country? 
 
A. The GOG is not contemplating safeguards or other measures 
to reduce growth of imports of Chinese textile and apparel 
products.  In fact, duties on imports of textiles, along with 
many other manufactured products, were reduced by a new 
customs law that took effect on September 1, 2006.  Textile 
tariffs were reduced from 12% to 5%. 
 
7.  Q. Has increased global competition affected local labor 
conditions by causing employers to reduce wages, seek 
flexibility from government required minimum wages, or 
adversely affected union organizing? 
 
TBILISI 00002668  002.3 OF 002 
 
 
 
A. So far as is known, increased global competition has not 
affected local labor conditions by causing Georgian employers 
to reduce wages.  The monthly wage in the private sector in 
Georgia has slowly increased since 2000, but at the end of 
2005 it was only about $100, which according to our research 
is similar to the average wage reported in China.  Batumitex 
pays its workers about $150 per month.  A Tbilisi producer of 
socks for the domestic market told us he pays his workers 
about $235 per month.  There is no minimum wage in Georgia 
for non-government worker
s from which employers might seek 
flexibility.  Unions are not strong anywhere in Georgia. 
 
8. Q. Has the host government or private industry taken 
action to increase the country's competitiveness, such as 
improving infrastructure, reducing bureaucratic requirements, 
developing the textiles (fabric production) industry, moving 
to higher value-added goods, or identifying niche markets? 
Does post think that the host government or private 
industry's strategy will be successful? 
 
A. The GoG has taken dramatic steps to improve the ease of 
doing business generally and improve the competitiveness of 
Georgian industry.  The World Bank has named Georgia the top 
reformer in the world in 2007.  The government is working to 
improve roads, is opening a new airport in Batumi, has 
reduced bureaucratic requirements and licensing, reduced 
taxes, enacted extremely liberal laws regulating employment, 
attacked corruption among customs and immigration officials 
at the borders, and intends to completely eliminate import 
duties by 2008.  None of this has been done specifically to 
benefit textile producers, but it can be expected to increase 
the attractiveness of Georgia as a destination for such 
investment. 
 
9.  Q. If your host government is a partner in a free trade 
agreement or a beneficiary of a preference program such as 
AGOA, CBTPA, CAFTA or ATPDEA, will this be sufficient for the 
country to remain competitive? 
 
A. Georgia has a free trade relationship with the countries 
of the former Soviet Union.  So far, Russia has not imposed 
restrictions on imports of Georgian industrial goods and 
textiles and apparel, as it has on agricultural products, 
wine and mineral waters, but tensions with Russia are always 
a drag on economic development in Georgia.  Georgia has not 
yet been able to capitalize on the free trade relationship to 
benefit its textile industry, but the potential exists. 
Greater opportunities than those in Russia and the CIS 
probably lie in the European Union market.  Factories located 
in Georgia have an advantage over Chinese competitors in that 
shipping times to the European market are less and the lead 
time for production of seasonal styles is therefore reduced. 
According to Batumitex, a truck can complete a trip from 
Batumi to Milan or Frankfurt in 6-8 days. and New York is 25 
days away by ship.  Georgia is one of only two CIS countries 
and 15 countries in the world that have GSP  access to the 
European Union market, under which textiles are not duty free 
but receive a reduced tariff.  The EU has been reluctant to 
enter into negotiations for free trade with Georgia, but 
since the suspension of the Doha round has begun to express 
more interest in such an idea. 
 
10.  In sum, Georgia has some potential, for the most part 
unrealized, for attracting textile manufacturing.  Georgia's 
marketing efforts are fairly rudimentary at this point, but 
the favorable publicity generated by the World Bank's ease of 
doing business survey may prompt some manufacturers to take a 
second look at the idea of locating factories in Georgia, 
despite increasing competition from China. 
TEFFT

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