The UAE has emerged as the world's fourth largest trading center for fashion and apparels. It has 150 apparel manufacturing companies and exports of materials and finished products have now reach more than 50 countries across Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and Europe. The region’s sales account for about 5.5 per cent of the world’s annual textile and clothing sales. Textile products produced in the UAE include car seats, tents and curtains, in addition to garments. Knitted fabric is the most in demand in the UAE, accounting for around 49.7 per cent, followed by woven fabrics.
The textile industry occupies an important place in UAE’s economy, particularly in Dubai, because of its contribution to industrial output, employment generation and foreign exchange earnings. Its textile and garment companies have improved and upgraded their raw material storage, packing and transport facilities for large-scale operations.
But the industry is now facing a rise in production costs. And apparel industry owners are shifting to other low cost centers like China, India, Bangladesh, Kenya and Ethiopia. They see the African market is an emerging one with disposable incomes and people wanting to buy merchandise. Already the African market is expected to account for a growing proportion of the UAE’s re-exported auto parts market during the coming years.