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Prospects for Garment Production in Romania: One of Europe's Most Important Sources
published in Issue 134, March-April 2008
Romania’s garment industry has been transformed since the Ceausescu era of 1968-89. As a result of privatisation and a new atmosphere of freedom, entrepreneurs have invested in computerised pattern-making equipment, cutting equipment and sewing machines so that some Romanian factories are among the best equipped in the world.
Before the break up of the Eastern bloc, factories were state-owned and outdated and production was geared to markets in the former Soviet Union. But pioneers such as Germany-based Steilmann realised that Romania offered a well trained workforce whose wages were well below those in many other former Eastern bloc countries—such as Poland or the Czech Republic. By 2006 the garment industry had grown to become the largest supplier in Central Europe, and was second only to Turkey in the Euromed region.
But since Romania joined the EU in 2007, garment exports and production have fallen as a result of labour shortages, higher costs and competition from low cost countries in Asia, particularly China. Some buyers are testing the water in Serbia, Albania and Macedonia. But many West European retailers value the good relationships they have created with Romanian factories, and prefer to work with established partners rather than seek out lower prices.
The four factories profiled in this report are representative of the best of their type. Confectii Bârlad and Smirodava were originally stateowned enterprises, while Caremil Impex and Luar Com were started from scratch by entrepreneurs. All four are likely to survive a downturn because they have strong management, a strong reputation for quality, and good relationships with their customers.
- Prospects for Garment Production in Romania: One of Europe's Most Important Sources
- Garment Manufacture in the Post-Ceausescu Era
- Romanian Production Today—The Effect of EU Membership
- Factories and Infrastructure
- Caremil Impex: An International Supplier Which Has Decided to Diversify
- Confectii Bârlad: Maintaining a Competitive Edge by Offering a Well Finished Product
- Luar Com: From Ten Machines to Supplying the World's Airlines
- Smirodava: A State-Owned Business Which Has Succeeded Through Customer Orientation
- Contact Details