Textiles and clothing represent Portugal’s largest industrial sector. In 2001 the industry accounted for 19.4% of total exports and employed 225,869 people, providing some 24.8% of total manufacturing employment in the country. Small enterprises dominate. Of the 13,069 firms in the industry in 2001, some 70.3% employed fewer than ten people.
Membership of the EU has enabled the Portuguese textile and clothing industry to develop its trade with the rest of Europe. In 2001 EU member states took 83.4% of Portuguese exports and supplied 78.8% of the country’s imports. In terms of turnover, Portugal is the seventh largest textile producer in the EU and the sixth biggest producer of clothing.
By late 2002, however, the Portuguese textile and clothing industry was experiencing difficulties. A number of firms went bankrupt while others relocated their operations in an attempt to reduce costs, resulting in a large number of redundancies.
In the past, the Portuguese textile and clothing industry was able to compete on the basis of low wage levels. But new shifts in global production have resulted in the relocation of production to Portugal’s low cost neighbours in East European and Mediterranean countries, with a consequent loss of jobs.
To survive, Portugal’s producers need to adapt to these new conditions by moving away from their present model of low cost operations and embracing the challenges posed by innovation, creativity and marketing.
Geographical, Economic and Political Background
Economic and political background
Structure of the Textile and Clothing Industry
Products and Markets
Textile and Apparel Exports and Imports
Competitiveness of the Portuguese Textile and Clothing Industry: Strengths and
Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
List of tables
Table 1: Portugal: economic structure and macro-economic indicators, 1998-2002
Table 2: National minimum wage rates in selected EU countries, 2002
Table 3: Portugal: shares of textile production and number of companies by sector, 2001
Table 4: Portugal: distribution of companies in the textile and clothing industry by number of employees, 2001
Table 5: Portugal: number of companies and employees in the textile industry, by sector, 2001
Table 6: Portugal: distribution of companies in the textile industry by number of employees, 2001
Table 7: Portugal: number of companies and employees in the clothing industry by sector, 2001
Table 8: Portugal: company size in the clothing industry by employees, 2001
Table 9: Portugal: textile and clothing exports by value, 1994-2002
Table 10: Portugal: textile export, by main export destination, 2000 and 2001
Table 11: Portugal: clothing exports by main export destination, 2000 and 2001
Table 12: Portugal: shares of textile and clothing exports to the EU by country of destination, 2001
Table 13: Portugal: household textile exports by main export destination, 2000 and 2001
Table 14: Portugal: textile imports by main country of origin, 2000 and 2001
Table 15: Portugal: clothing imports by main country of origin, 2000 and 2001
Table 16: Portugal: household textile imports by main country of origin, 2000 and 2001
Table 17: Portugal: textile and clothing imports by value, 1994-2002