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Tunisia’s FTTH: Reveals strategic importance of textiles in the economy

After holding its national convention and appointing its representatives on December 17, the Textile and Apparel Federation (FTTH) of Tunisia has worked out its roadmap. This organisation launched in May 2017 from a split of the textile industry of the Tunisian Union of Industry, Commerce and Handicrafts (Utica), the main organization of Tunisian employers.

The country’s textile industry leaders felt that Utica's wage increases were important and faced difficulties in ensuring that interests of textile manufacturers were heard. Thus FTTHs structure was different from that of Utica. Following the establishment of nine regional councils and small businesses and services ancillary to the textile industry, this new structure ensured the balance of representatives of the different sectors, including spinning or weaving.

Nafaa Ennaifer, TFCE Group Managing Director and Vice President of FTTH reveals, "This will bring out new faces, a new language for another dynamic in the sector." Ennaifer claims that over 500 members “gathered around common values" and represented around "45,000 jobs". FTTH has a charter which exposes the transparency of its activities.

The option displayed is a repositioning in terms of markets and products, combined with a national strategy to enhance productivity and monitoring the 23 textile support measures announced by the Government in June 2017. The FTTH is also a sustainability focused and wants to establish a principle of "co-responsibility" with the UGTT central workers to ensure the sustainability of companies. Its third objective is to rebuild the image of the textile segment that was affected by turbulence since the 2011 revolution. FTTH calls for a more competitive sector with real know-how, where companies are "dynamic and citizens" able to set the course for other industries to follow.

The establishment of this new Federation is in a context of rebound for the sector, thanks to increased competitiveness and the European willingness to rebalance trade with China and Turkey. Textile is the country’s second largest exports accounting for over 20 per cent of Tunisian GDP with 1,600 companies, 1,60,000 jobs and 2.2 billion euros in turnover for export of which 96 per cent goes to Europe. This data thus reveal the strategic importance of textiles in the Tunisian economy.