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Technical Absorbents
Technical Absorbents

Eugene Gerden

Expert Opinion

31st March 2016, Moscow

Russia approves new support measures for domestic technical textiles industry

Eugene Gerden reports from Moscow

The Russian government has designed a new package of measures, aimed at improving of the current situation in its domestic technical textiles market and further increasing domestic production of technical textiles.  

Despite the ongoing financial recession in Russia, caused by Western sanctions, the Russian market of technical textiles continues to grow. This is reflected in official statistics, which say that last year the market grew by 22% in volume terms, compared to 2014.

Construction of the Ivanovo plant.

This is contrary to the last year’s performance of the Russian market of standard textiles, which posted a significant decline in 2015, both in value and volume terms.

In the meantime, the Russian government believes that this is just the beginning, while the local market of technical textiles has big potential for further growth during the next few years.

As part of these plans, the Russian government has already announced its intention to provide numerous benefits to those technical textiles producers that will build new production facilities within the territory of Russia in the next couple of years.

To date, a significant part of Russian technical textiles was produced at the capacities of Asian factories of the Russian companies, that was mainly due to lower production costs,  however, thanks to the planned state support such a situation will probably change already in the coming years.

In addition to direct state support, the Russian government has also announced its plans to create conditions for the acceleration of R&D activities in the field of technical textiles, which, according to state plans, should create conditions for the design of new high-tech industry products with high-added value.

Finally, the Russian government has recently approved the provision of funds for technical re-equipment of the industry. As part of these plans, RUB 1.3 billion (US$25 million) should be allocated for these needs, which should help Russian technical textiles producers to purchase new equipment for their production facilities. It is planned that the funds will be provided from the existing Russian Fund for the Development of Industrial Production, one of Russia’s largest state-owned investment funds.

In the medium term, the Russian government hopes for a significant increase in exports of domestic technical textiles products to abroad. For this purpose, the government plans to use the experience of some Middle East oil-rich states, which, due to a rich raw materials base, have been able to significantly increase the volume of exports of its technical textiles to foreign markets in recent years.

For example, the United Arab Emirates entered the market of chemical fibres and technical textiles in the late 1990s and for the last 10 years has increased exports of these products up to US$1.3 billion.

Inside STEKLONiT, one of Russia's leading producers of geosynthetics and technical textiles.

There are also plans of the use of the experience of Canada, which operates its own production of chemical fibres and yarns, which is based on the country’s own raw materials, and is mainly designed for exports to the US.

 In 2015 exports of Russian technical textiles amounted to US$110 million, however, according to state plans, these volumes are insignificant and should be significantly increased during the next few years.

According to data from the Russian Association of Textile and Light Industry Producers,  (a public association, which unites Russia’s leading textiles and technical textiles producers), at present the Russian technical texiles industry is comprised of 60 large industry enterprises, while the total number of producers is varied in the range of 90-100 companies. It is planned that the approved state measures should create conditions for a significant increase of these figures already by the end of the current year.

In recent months, the demand for technical textiles has significantly increased in Russia, with the largest increase being recorded in the domestic military, defence and aerospace industries. According to state plans, it will continue to grow this year, which is also due to the recent placement of large state orders for the production of technical textiles.

At the same time further development of the industry is complicated by the existing shortage of raw materials.

Currently Russian technical textiles producers continue to be heavily dependent on the supplies of raw materials from abroad. According to the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, the share of imports of polyester fibres in the overall structure of the Russian polyester fibres market is currently estimated at 74%, while the share of polypropylene imports is 49%. Finally, in the case of viscose, Russia still lacks its own production, which means that it continues to import up to 100% of viscose for its needs from abroad. At the same time the share of polyamide imports is varied in the range of 85%-88% of the entire market.

Still, there is a possibility that the problem of the raw materials’ shortage may be solved already in the coming years, which is mainly due to forthcoming commissioning of the Ivanovo plant for the production of polyester fibre.

It is planned that the new plant will be operated on monoethylene glycol, which is fully produced in Russia. At the same time the majority of terephthalic acid, that will be also used at the new plant, will be imported from abroad. 

According to forecasts of Sergey Nikolaev, head of the Ivanovo Polyester Complex, (a company, which is implementing the project for the building of the Ivanovo plant), the commissioning of the plant will not only allow to solve the problem of a shortage of raw materials in the domestic technical textile market, but to start its exports to abroad, and in particular to the EU states.

According to Nikolaev, in recent years, Asian imports of man-made fibres to the EU market have significantly increased, which is mainly due to the increase of demand for technical textiles in the European market. At the same time, according to investors’ plans, the production of the Ivanovo plant will be able to successfully compete with Asian imports in the EU market, which is mainly due to good quality and competitive prices.

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