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Cablegate: 2006 Cote D Ivoire Textile Statistics, Analysis

VZCZCXRO5666
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHAB #1017/01 2761655
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 031655Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3587
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABIDJAN 001017

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

State pass to USTR Carol Miller
State pass to /EEB/TPP/ABT Gary A. Clements
Pass Commerce/ITA/OTEXA Maria D'Andrea

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ETRD KTEX IV
SUBJECT: 2006 COTE D IVOIRE TEXTILE STATISTICS, ANALYSIS

REF: SECSTATE 114799

1. (U) Cote d Ivoire - 2005 statistics on textile sector, as of
2005 (the last year for which detailed statistics are available):

-- Total industrial production was USD 3.4 billion for 2005.
-- Textile and apparel's share in overall industrial production is
5.77 percent
-- Textile and apparel's share of total Ivorian imports: 0.77%
-- Textile and apparel's share of total Ivorian exports: 2.10%
-- Exports of Ivorian textiles and apparel to the U.S: USD 203,653
(2005) and USD 428,496 (2006)
-- Total employment in the textiles and apparel sector: 5,108
-- Percentage in total Ivorian industrial employment: 2.94%

Source: National Institute of statistics-

2. (U) In 2006, according to the National Institute of Statistics,
production of textiles fell 39.5%, due in large measure to Asian
competition. The majority of Ivorian textile production is divided
between African print "wax cloth" production (3. 5 million meters
per month) and "fancy wax cloth" (higher end African print fabric)
production (1.3 million meters per month). A small quantity is
produced and exported for jeans manufacture.

3. (SBU) In answer to questions posed in para 5 of reftel, on
September 20, 2007 Econ LE staff met with Jean Ferbert, Director
General of the textile firm TEXICODI, which produces 80 percent of
the country's "fancy" grade wax cloth. LES and Ferbert discussed
Ivorian textile sector issues, including foreign competition, the
role of China in the international textile/apparel market, possible
government actions to improve competitiveness of the industry, how
AGOA could help, and the future of the industry.

-- Concerning foreign competition, Ferbert said that the Ivorian
textile sector is facing unfair competition from Asian countries
like China and India through counterfeit designs of African-print
cloth. Ferbert also alleges Chinese firms "dump" their wares, given
the massive discrepancy in the price of imports versus local prints;
locally-made fancy wax "pagnes" (cloth for African-style clothing)
can be more than 50 percent more expensive than the Chinese
equivalent. Ferbert asserted that Ivorian textile companies cannot
compete with cheap Asian (largely Chinese) imports, especially as
production costs (fuel, taxes) continue to rise. Ferbert also
expressed concerns about the sale of smuggled textile products
(again, largely Chinese origin) from Nigeria, Togo and Benin through
the porous borders of the North on which import duties are not paid,
again giving them an advantage over locally produced goods. Ferbert
mentioned the growing market for second hand clothes as a threat to
the local industry.

-- Regarding the role of China in the international textile/apparel
market, Ferbert said that the Chinese textile industry's strategy is
to control the upstream cotton business, particularly the weaving
and spinning sector, in West Africa so as to hedge against the
possibilities of trade disruptions, such as dumping or safeguards.
He cited the instance of the Malian textile company Comatex, which
was acquired by a Chinese company.
-- Responding to measures taken by the government to increase
competiveness, Ferbert said that the government implemented
protection of textile design and copyright to combat counterfeiting
with the printing of the manufacturer's name on the product and
registration of the industrial design at the Ivorian Office of
Intellectual Property (OIPI). Despite these measures importers
continue to inundate the Ivorian market with counterfeited textile
products. Ferbert also suggested lowering factor costs (i.e. energy
and water) as potentially effective means to improve
competitiveness.

-- Concerning AGOA, Ferbert said better access to the U.S. market
could help support the local textile manufacturing sector and
support local jobs through sales of local print "pagnes",
compensating the ongoing loss of regional market share to Asian
competition.

-- Regarding the future of the textile industry, Ferbert expressed
optimism saying that the country has the potential to revitalize the
textile sector. He said Cote d'Ivoire possesses one of the best
quality cotton fibers in West Africa, fiber control labs as well as
the best designs, colors and variations for local prints ("fancy
wax") and well-maintained textile factories, despite the effects of
the five-year old political crisis. Judicial system reforms to
better protect intellectual property as well as unspecified fiscal
support measures would help the sector regain its footing.

4. (SBU) Post has not heard of governmental efforts, either

ABIDJAN 00001017 002 OF 002


nationally or in conjunction with the West African Customs Union, to
impose safeguards or other trade remedies to curb the growth of
Chinese exports. Post has also not seen governmental efforts to
address workers displaced by foreign competition.

NESBITT

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