Panamanian Textile Industry in Freefall

The high cost of labor and other input materials has forced some companies to close operations.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Contrary to the performance of other countries in the region, the Panamanian textile industry has shown a significant decline in recent years compared to the positive performance of the eighties.

At that time it exported more than $80 million worth in textiles every year, but now barely manages one million dollars worth.

In an article in, Augusto Corro Pinilla, president of the National Association for the Clothes Making Industry, said that with the gradual closure of factories, many owners have devoted themselves to importing textile products, mainly in the Colon Free Zone, and have left the business.

He also emphasised that the industry is in "intensive care" and stressed that "if the government does nothing to enhance this activity it will not be able to meet future commitments."

He said that another reason for this sharp decline is lack of personnel, seeing as about 30 thousand workers were employed in the textile industry in the 90’s, but as factories have been closed so have schools dedicated to teaching the craft.

For businessmen, the situation is worrisome, Pinilla confirmed that an export quota to the Europe for 3,500,000 pieces was lost because there were no staff to make the products."

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