Opening of the Study Tour on Sustainable Textile in Albania
A speech by ambassador Dewi van de Weerd. 4 April 2017.
Twelve representatives of Dutch companies in the textile sector are in Tirana to explore the opportunities to cooperate with Albanian companies, who are active across all garment value chain. Today, ambassador Dewi van de Weerd gave a speech at the opening event, where she outlined the attractive features of such mutual partnerships.
"You are most probably regularly wearing something that was actually made here, but it does not yet have that label. It is with great pleasure that I welcome Dutch and Albanian fashion and textile entrpreneurs here today, to work on just that. The embassy’s efforts to strategically associate fashion sector partnerships between Albania and the Netherlands started more than two years ago, when a group of Dutch experts from MVO NL were exploring Albania, as a country to do sustainable and socially responsible business. They identified the fashion sector as one of the promising sectors, together with ICT and agro-tourism to name a few other examples. Their report was followed in 2016 by the “CSR Roadmap Albania” – a guide through Albanian garment and industry.
I am delighted that today we have moved to another stage where both Dutch and Albanian companies will seriously and concretely explore match making and partnership opportunities. As you are officially the first group of Dutch entrepreneurs that come to Albania, I would like to congratulate you for the initiative and look forward to seeing the first results.
I would like to thank MVO NL for the intitiative and the whole team that contributed to this week’s programme, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO for their essential support and the extensive cooperation with AIDA – the Albanian Investment Development Agency during the last years.I appreciate this partnership, as it has laid a strong foundation for potential trade connections. Sustainable business and the circular economy are our future.
Your relationships during the coming days can be successful, due to four main advantages:
- I strongly believe that both countries have something to offer to each- other in the fashion sector: Albanian companies can offer their competitive production costs, short lead times and eagerness to open up to the world and move up the value chain ladder towards full cycle production. On the other side, Dutch companies offer a dynamic and innovative market, an experienced entrepreneurship attitude and commonly reliable partnership when it comes to orders’ payments.
- Bilateral trade and investment relations between the two countries are at optimal levels. The actual Dutch stock investment in the country is 5 billion EUR, accounting for 14% of the total investments and ranking the Netherlands as the second biggest investor in Albania.
- Despite the increase, the current level of trade has room for improvement. As economic diplomacy is a cornerstone of Dutch foreign policy, the Dutch government, through The Netherlands Enterprise Agency, applies several economic instruments, stimulating trade and investment relations. It is important, though, that there is a financial commitment from both sides.
- We have a very small but dedicated trade team at the embassy, which is focused on smoothing trade and investments relations between the two countries. Feel free to address us with any needs you have and support you might need with your business endeavors in Albania and in the Netherlands.
I hope this study tour will be an eye opener to the great potentials of this country. Have an inspiring visit!"