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Huge success of the mission to Colombia by the European Advanced Textile Materials cluster EU-TEXTILE2030

08-22-2018

EU-TEXTILE2030, the European Advanced Textile Materials cluster, has been in Colombia from July 23rd to 27th in its first business mission. 

The mission was carried out in parallel to its participation at Colombiamoda 2018 + Textiles2 in Medellin from July 24th to 26th. Colombiamoda + Textiles2 is one of the largest trade fairs in the textile sector in Latin America with over 21.500 participants from 56 countries. 

EU-TEXTILE2030 was present in the trade fair with a 27m2 booth, located in the Green pavilion within the Textiles2 area, dedicated to technical textiles.  More than 30 innovative products from the members of the seven EU-TEXTILE2030 clusters were displayed at the stand. 

Four European technical textiles’ clusters have directly participated at the mission: AEI Tèxtils (Catalonia) as leader of the mission, Tecthera (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes), Up-Tex/Clubtex (Hauts-de-France) and the Portuguese Textile Cluster. Along with the cluster’s representatives, 16 companies have participated at the mission, being two of them members of AEI Tèxtils. 

During the mission, several stakeholder meetings were held with representatives from the Colombian textile sector: clusters, business associations, research centers and related government initiatives. The team also visited top research centers in the sector. 

During the first day of the mission, the team visited the textile department from the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, which has extensive facilities dedicated to the textile industry. 

The following day, within the trade fair, a meeting was held with INEXMODA, the organizer of Colombiamoda 2018, to debate the near-future potential of the sector in Colombia and to narrow down potential opportunities to establish collaborations to support the sector.  

On the third day, EU-TEXTILE2030 participated in meetings with the key players in the Mesa Textil from Colombia: the SENA (National learning service) and ACOLTEX (national association of textile professionals from Colombia).

Furthermore, the team was also invited to present the different initiatives that the clusters are working on at the different participating regions. The session was organized by Programa de Transformación Productiva from the Industry, Commerce and Tourism ministry from the Colombian Government with the support from the Red Cluster Colombia initiative where more than 20 clusters and other initiatives participated from all Colombia.

The day after, the team visited the facilities of the company Fabricato, the largest denim fabric producer from Colombia. Thereafter, the team visited the facilities from SENA with a tour through the different textile characterization laboratories. 

On the last day, the EU-TEXTILE2030 representatives met with the managing team from RUTA N, the local agency for innovation, and visited the facilities from the national center for nanotechnology. The same afternoon, the team visited ExpoFaro, a company specialized in jeans finishing and making, it is a major producer for renowned brands like Diesel and Levi’s. 

EU-TEXTILE2030 also participated in the conferences held in parallel to the trade fair, in the Knowledge Pavilion. Josep Casamada, Project Manager from AEI Tèxtils, presented, within a forum of more than 1.000 experts, the conference: Sustainability and circular economy: an opportunity to increase the competiveness of the textile industry. The content of the conference reviewed the cluster and examples of circular economy applied by cluster members like Manufacturas Arpe or SEAQUALTM. The later produces polyester yarns from recycled waste recovered from the marine depths, where ANTEX is one of the initiative promoter. Lastly, he presented different projects the cluster is working on within this field like the European projects MIDWOR-LIFE and LIFE-FALREX among others. 

Afterwards, Karine Wallois from Up-Tex/Clubtex, presented the European project RETEX where the cluster participates and has as the objective to integrate of the circular economy within the textile sector through recycling and ecodesign. 

EU-TEXTILE2030 assesses the mission as highly fruitful. It has enabled the participating companies the exploration of the Colombian market and, through the contacts made, foresees to build strategic alliances by the clusters and their members.