Swissmem organises symposium for Egyptian textile industry
textile machinery suppliers, organised by the national
association Swissmem, held a two-day symposium in early April in
Cairo. The objective was to strengthen the already
well-established industrial ties between Egypt and Switzerland
and to initiate a major step towards the revival of the Egyptian
textile manufacturing sector. The 13 Swissmem companies taking
part in the symposium were: Luwa, Amsler Tex, Heberlein, SSM
Schärer Schweiter Mettler, Saurer (Embroidery), Rieter
Components (Bräcker, Graf, Novibra and Süssen), Stäubli, Jakob
Müller, Retech, Loepfe, Maag, Benninger, and Santex-Rimar Group.
Egyptian cotton is known worldwide for its quality and
strength in applications such as shirts and bedsheets, its
heritage dating back to the time of the Pharaohs. In the land of
the Pyramids, the area around Giza also lends its name to some
of the finest cotton varieties which are grown there.
Textile production, using both local and imported cotton, is
a vital contributor to Egypt’s economy, but the textile sector’s
performance and potential are being held back by financial
constraints, rooted in the serious economic downturn and the
accompanying severe devaluation of the Egyptian Pound.
Political instability has thus far hampered much-needed
investment in new technology by the textile industry – so that
its resurgence is now overdue.
Switzerland’s textile machinery suppliers, organised by the
national association Swissmem, have now initiated a major step
towards the revival of Egyptian textile manufacturing, with a
highly successful two-day symposium (April 4-5, 2017) in Cairo.
A total of 13 association member companies presented their
latest machines and systems to an audience of 400, including
industry representatives from the private and public sectors,
and delegates from various universities and research institutes.
The devaluations, while making Egyptian goods theoretically
more attractive in export markets, have also seriously impacted
on the cost and accessibility to Egypt’s textile companies of
new production technology from the major producers.
The Swissmem symposium addressed this issue head-on, with
direct offers of assistance in the key area of financing capital
imports. Ernesto Maurer, Swissmem President, told the symposium:
“Switzerland is ready to support Egypt in its striving to
re-connect with the worldwide textile community.” He was
referring to difficulties in accessing foreign exchange funds
and the high costs associated with this, which have been a major
obstacle to Egyptian companies seeking to renew their equipment
and take up new technology.
“Funds need to be created prior to new investments, and here
the Swiss textile machinery companies can help,” he said.
“Sometimes, it is also the case that service and upgrade of
existing equipment can be easier to achieve than complete
Symposium participants heard a detailed explanation of export
risk insurance and financing, presented by Fabian Brunschwiler,
of SERV (Swiss Export Risk Insurance). His comments were most
interesting as Egypt was not yet making full use of the export
finance facilities available from Switzerland.
Swiss textile machinery producers enjoying strong export
sales to Egypt up to 2013 have seen shipments decline to only
20% of previous levels. Now, as Egyptian textile manufacturers
exhibit an eagerness to expand their markets, improve production
capability and product quality, Swissmem is optimistic that it
can offer both the financial and technological solutions they
Said Ernesto Maurer: “We are very confident that Egypt will
find a way back to its previous position of strength, and its
leading role in the world of high-quality fabrics. The Egyptian
cotton brand ‘Giza 100’ once stood as a synonym for quality in
textile raw materials. Now, our Swiss textile machinery industry
is an enthusiastic partner in facilitating and stimulating this