‚Made in China for China‘ focus of new five-year plan

For www.just-style.com

The world’s clothing and textile sector is keeping a close eye on China’s National People’s Congress, which congregated in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on Friday (5 March) in a ‚Two Sessions‘ event to review and ratify the draft outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025). 

This includes policies for national economic and social development and the long-range objectives through to the year 2035.

The Chinese government usually sticks firmly to its Five-Year Plans, and even though the words ‚textiles‘ and ‚garments‘ are nowhere to be found in the new one, its broad goals will have a direct impact on the industry’s supply chain.

Overall, the new plan targets a „balanced development“ of financial services, real estate and the industrial and agricultural economy, aiming to modernise supply and production chains, continuing China’s „green transformation“ of tougher environmental rules and stabilising agri-business, with more coordination of urban and rural development.

The latter two policies, say analysts, are likely to accelerate China’s push to move its textile-garment production capacity from the wealthy coastal provinces to the poorer western provinces – including Xinjiang. This may complicate international brands‘ and retailers‘ sourcing patterns, given ongoing claims of anti-Uyghur genocide by the Chinese government. 

This is a clear point of potential problems. Whereas western observers allege the widespread use of forced labour in Xinjiang, some Chinese industrialists portray textile-garment making and affiliated cotton production as increasingly helping local residents to shake off poverty. 

„During the 14th Five-Year period, we will continue to see development of textiles within China’s west, but we are also likely to see a continued critical look from many brands seeking clarity into the supply chain as there has been pushback from human rights groups related to the regions and industry in question,“ explains Benjamin Cavender, managing director of the Shanghai-based China Market Research Group (CMR). 

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