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Import substitution still a distant dream for Russian textiles

  Фактически все разработки нацелены на импортозамещение. Общая государственная цель заместить импорт мотивировала центр активизировать исследования по новым направлениям," сказал Андрей Бетин, руководитель Инновационного научно-производственного центра текстильной и легкой промышленности. "К числу наиболее перспективных разработок нашего Центра, стратегически важных для развития отечественной легкой промышленности, в первую очередь, необходимо отнести инновационную технологию производства армирующих материалов на основе аксиальных текстильных полотен для создания композитов нового поколения.

  A shortage of raw materials and domestic equipment is making import substitution difficult for the Russian textile sector. Instead of seeing rising production amid increased rhetoric about localising manufacture, fabric output has slumped across all categories. According to industry insiders, textile mills are still years away from replacing imports with locally-made products.
  Russia’s fabric production dropped by 2.4% in 2015 as compared to 2014, and 7.4% in comparison to 2013 levels, according to the Moscow-based textile analytics agency Anitex.
  Russia’s textile sector also remains highly dependent on foreign raw materials. On average, more than 65% of raw materials for the industry are imported, according to Anna Fedyunina, director of the analytics centre at the Higher School of Economics in St Petersburg.
  “Given the sharp rise in the dollar exchange rate, the cost of raw materials for domestic textile manufacturers became critically high,” explains Anna Orozova, deputy director of Anitex. “Weaving and knitwear factories are gradually switching to yarn from central Asia, which matches the Russian yarn in quality but is much more favourable in terms of price. In turn, [local] spinning mills are forced to scale down their production capacities.”
  More than half of chemical fibres and yarns and about a third of flax and wool used in Russia are imported, according to Anitex. Imports also make up over 70% of upholstery for the automobile industry, knitted fleece fibres, workwear fabrics, and fabrics made from synthetic fibres, says Fedyunina.
  “There are a number of not very successful projects for growing cotton in the Astrakhan region [southern Russia], and a number of projects for growing an alternative natural raw material – flax – in Novosibirsk region and the Altai Krai [both north of the Kazakhstan border],” Fedyunina says. “But the scope of these projects, unfortunately, is not able to satisfy the national demand for raw materials.”
  However, Fedyunina also sees a positive side to the industry’s dependence on imports, giving textile manufacturers more choice and flexibility to diversify production: “We need to search for new speciality products. Fabrics made on the basis of chemical fibres are just such products.”
  Demand for fabrics made from chemical fibres is growing globally, while Russia’s market for polyester fibres is expected to quintuple by 2025 and reach up to 1.2 million tonnes. These fibres are particularly advantageous for Russian manufacturers because of the country’s oil, gas and cellulose complexes, which can grant access to the necessary raw materials, Fedyunina says.
  Russia currently produces few fabrics made from chemical fibres, about 16% of the domestic market's share, and some manufacturers are looking for ways to expand their production in this direction.
  The Moscow-based Innovative Research and Production Centre for the Textile and Light Industry is developing reinforcing materials on the basis of axial fabrics, fire and heat-resistant fabrics, and textiles that protect against radiation.
  “Practically all our research projects are aimed at import substitution,” says Andrey Betin, centre head. “The government’s overall goal to replace imports motivated the centre to activate research in new directions.”
  The Kirov Thread-Spinning Plant, in St Petersburg, has shown this is possible, launching a project to produce synthetic raw materials for textiles. However, the plant’s director, Vyacheslav Martynov, remains doubtful about Russia’s overall ability to replace textile imports with local products.
  “We have access to our oil sector, so we’re going to make our raw materials from granulate. That’s the whole import substitution, but it’s not really import substitution,” Martynov says. “There is no import substitution in Russia now because we have to start from scratch, building our own machines. We’re buying machines abroad and producing our products on them. What kind of import substitution is this? Import substitution is when you have your own sewing equipment, your fabric and your thread.”

СМИ: электронный журнал World Textile Information Network



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