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Bast Fiber Industry

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In 2002, China's bast fiber industry maintained steady growth. According to statistics from China Bast and Leaf Fibers Textile Association and customs offices, key economic indicators, output and sales and import/export volumes of the bast fiber industry were noticeably better than the previous year. Nevertheless, there had been reductions in profits.

Economic situation in 2002

1. Key economic indicators  Gross industrial output value (current price)  (above scale) in 2002 was RMB 7,669,270,000 Yuan at a growth rate of 4.33%. Specifically, ramie textile output mounted to RMB 3,787,530,000, increasing by 5.13%. Flax textile output reached RMB 3,458,090,000, increasing by  5.56%. Jute textile output totaled RMB 335,770,000,   dropping by 12.04%. 
                             
Product sales revenue in 2002 was '7,818,980,000 Yuan at a growth rate of 8.19%. Specifically, ramie textile sales reached 4,254,980,000 Yuan, increasing by 7.11%. Flax textile sales reached 3,214,870,000 Yuan,  increasing by 10.34%. Jute textile sales reached 261,250,000 Yuan, declining by 4.78%.  Total profit in 2002 reached 218,680,000 Yuan, declining by 9.58%. Specifically, profit of ramie textile amounted to 135,930,000 Yuan, declining by 19.35%. Profit of flax textile reached 92,350,000 Yuan, increasing by 14.44%; Profit of Jute textile totaled 13,540,000 Yuan, dropping by 43.46%.

2. Productions and sales of major products Ramie textile:The output of ramie yarn reached 64,793 tons, with a sales volume of 52,709 tons, increasing by 12.24% and  13.69% respectively. Specifically, pure ramie yarn output reached 15,308 tons, with a sales volume of 7,874  tons, declining by 1.69% and 2.75% respectively. The  output of ramie grey cloth was 85,950,000 meters with a  sales volume of 63,970,000 meters, increasing by 26.62% and 55.19% respectively, among which, the output of pure ramie grey cloth was 63,280,000 meters with a sales volume of 45,750,000 meters, increasing by 22.73% and 53.37% respectively.

The output of ramie dyed and printed cloth was 31,410,000 meters with a sales volume of 30,140,000 meters, increasing by 39.04% and 45.04% respectively.

Flax Textile:

The output of flax yarn reached 32,486 tons with a sales volume of 26,556 tons, up 17.20% and 51.86% respectively, among which, the output  of pure flax yarn reached 21,486 tons with a sales volume of 14,246 tons, increasing by 31.75% and 61.08%  respectively.

The output of flax grey cloth reached 38,150,000  meters with a sales volume of 36,680,000 meters, increasing by 17.60% and '73.67% respectively.  Specifically, the output of pure flax grey cloth reached  20,640,000 meters with a sales volume of 17,190,000 meters, increasing by of 84.95% and 149.49%  respectively.


The output of flax dyed and printed cloth reached 33,560,000 meters with a sales volume of 27,490,000 meters, increasing by 26.45% and 11.79% respectively.

Jute textile

The output of Jute yam totaled 16,349 tons with a sales volume of 22,294 tons, increasing by 25.84% and  6.68% respectively.

The output of Jute cloth reached 23,370,1)00 meters with a sales volume of 23,920,000 meters,  increasing by 31.81% and 24.39% respectively.
The output of Jute gunnysacks reached 30,660,000 pieces with a sales volume of 30 million pieces,   increasing by -7.11% and -33.30 %.

3. Import and export

According to statistics from the Customs, export value of bast fiber and textile products in 2002 reached 519,360,000 dollars at a growth rate of 9.16%. Import of bast fiber and textile products reached 310,710,000  dollars at a growth rate of 24.10%. The volume of export  of raw materials reached 6,760 tons at 9,440,000 dollars  at growth rates of 0.63% and 18.51% respectively  compared with those of last year. Yarn export volume reached 40,113 tons at 124,170,000 dollars, increasing  by 25.51% and 16.04% respectively. Specifically, export volume of ramie yarn was 33,450 tons at 88,280,000  dollars, increasing by 23.75% and 9.9% respectively.

Export volume of flax yarn was 5,906 tons at 34,080,000 dollars at growth rates of 33.73% and 29.66% respectively. Export volume of Jute yarn was 757 tons at 1,820,000 dollars, increasing by 7.94% and 356.03%  respectively. Cloth export volume reached 22,245 tons at  353,990,000 dollars, increasing by 7.78% and 9.05% respectively. Specifically, export volume of ramie cloth reached 70,950,000 meters at 77,120,000 dollars, dropping by 10.49% and 9.10% respectively. Export volume  of flax reached 149,660,000 meters at 274,610,000 dollars, increasing by 18.95% and 15.02% respectively. 

Export volume of Jute reached 1,840,000 meters at  2,260,000 dollars, increasing by 40.50% and 125.5% respectively. Finished product export reached 31,760,000  dollars at a growth rate of 12.30% Comparison of average prices of export:

The average price of exported raw materials was  1.40 dollar/kg at a growth rate of 17.63% among which,  the average price of flax and flax staple fiber was 0.60 dollar/kg at a growth rate of-17.81%. The average price of exported yarn was 3.10 dollar/kg at a growth rate of  -7.46%, among which the average price of exported ramie yarn was 2.64 dollar/kg at a growth rate of -11.11%;   average price of flax yarn was 5.77 dollar/kg at a  growth rate of -3.03 %. The average price of exported  cloth was 1.59 dollar/meter at a growth rate of 1.27%, among which, the average price of ramie cloth was 1.09 dollar/meter at a growth rate of 1.87%; the average price of tax cloth was 1.83 dollar/meter at a growth  rate of -3.68%.

Major characteristics of the operation of the industry                       

1. Substantial improvement in export 

The first half of 2002 had seen a depressive situation in the export of bast textile products. In the  second half of 2002, things turned better. Monthly average growth rate of 2002 was 18%, with the highest growth rate of a month reaching 35.67%. The growth rates of volume of export flax yarns, ramie yarn, and flax  cloth were respectively 33.73%, 23.75% and 18.95%.

2. Rapid development of flax textile as a bright growth  spot

Export of major flax textile products had  maintained sustained growth ever since 1997. In 2002 growth rates of flax yam and flax cloth reached 33.73%  and 18.95%. Demand in domestic market and increases in  export of flax textile products contributed to the rapid development of the processing capacity of flax textile  products, turning it into a bright point of growth in the industry. According to relevant investigations, the volume of flax processing (including projects under  construction) reached 350,000 spindles. The growth rate of recent years has been maintained at a level of about  30%, and they are mainly oncentrated in economically  developed areas of Zhejiang Province, etc.

Currently, attention shall be paid to the actual  effect of the development of the flax industry, to  technological innovation and product deep-processing. We shall try to address the problem of low-level repetitive construction, pay attention to improve the corporate capacity of weathering market risks to maintain steady  and stable development of the industry.

3. Accelerated SOE reform, structure adjustment and improved level of economic benefit

In 2002 the economic benefit of bast textile industry went down, and there had been a 9.85% reduction  in sales volume. Major reasons included:

a. The average price of exported bast textile products continued to drop. In 2002, the average prices  of the exported ramie yam and flax yam dropped by 3.03%  and 11.11% respectively, and the average price of exported flax cloth dropped by 3.68%.

b. The management system of SOEs was still unable to meet the requirement of market economy. SOEs had poor  economic performance, which had become a major cause   affecting the development of the industry as well as the  level of economic benefit.
                       
4. Imports of flax and flax staple fibers reaching 67,333 tons at a growth rate of 2.98% Imports of flax  raw materials accounted for over 60% of demands, it remained an disadvantageous factor to the stable development of flax industry.

The shortage of raw materials in the development  of flax textile industry aroused the enthusiasm of the flax growers and flax processing industry planting of flax and raw material processing industry. According to relevant investigations,  flax-planting area across the country reached 2 million  mus (approximately 133,300 hectares), and the annual output of scutched bast reached 60,000 tons. The  increase in the area of flax planting and the development of raw material processing industry were expected to gradually ease the shortages in flax raw  materials and pave the way for sustained and steady  development of flax textile industry.
                       
Forecasts and tasks of the development of the industry  in 2003

In 2003, both world economy and domestic economic  policy environment are expected to improve further. 

However, unstable economic factors will continue to  exist, and market competition will become even fiercer.

Situations and tasks facing the bast industry are:

1. Domestic and overseas bast textile market will remain stable while exports and domestic market demand will  continue to grow.

It is forecasted that the export of major bast textile products such as ramie yarn, ramie textile
products, flax yarn and flax textile products will maintain a large margin of growth, and domestic market demand will show obvious,, tendency of growth. According to investigation on market sales structure by major flax enterprises in Zhejiang, domestic sale accounts for above 60% of overall sales volumes, and the ratio of production and sale exceeds 100%. Flax textile   enterprises shall seize the opportunity and meet market  demands as well as the requirements of economic globalization. They shall also further improve their patterns and manners of trade, maintain their traditional market shares and explore new trade channels  and opportunities to gain bigger space for development.

2. Currently, them remain a number of disadvantages  hampering the bast industry from having a sustainable, stable and fast development.

Mainly composed of primary products, its product  structure is far away from rationality. Besides, the industry is seriously short of end product development capacity, further restricting its market expansion efforts. Therefore, it is necessary to promote product  innovation with technological innovation and to drive  market development with product innovation. The goal is, through these means, to expand market shares and enlarge new market room, creating a healthy environment for the  sustained, stable and fast development of the bast  industry.

3. The bast industry needs to persistently follow the path of developing through better quality and  efficiency, attaching great importance to practical  effectiveness, technological innovation and product development. It also needs to focus its efforts on  enhancing the enterprises' capabilities to withstand  market risks and avoiding low-level duplications. SOEs need to accelerate their reform process and transform  their operational mechanism to meet the demand of fast developing market as soon as possible.

4. It is necessary to coordinate the plantation of materials, including ramie, flax and hemp in line with the processing scale of the textile industry.

R&D and promotion of advanced breeds should be prioritized in the plantation of flax and the development of the raw material processing sector. To  ensure the synchronized development of both quality and quantity of flax raw material, it is necessary to improve the equipment level, production level and  management level of flax raw material processing enterprises.

5.The industrial associations need to further play their roles of self-discipline and coordination It is necessary to further coordinate the ceiling prices of  imported flax and ramie raw materials as well as bottom line prices of exported flax and ramie textile products.

Priorities for China Bast and Leaf Fibers Textile Association in 2003

Currently, China's bast industry is in a relatively stable development period, when a number of 
significant changes are taking place in the post WTO-accession market. In face of the new challenges and  new opportunities, China Bast and Leaf Fibers Textile Association should hold onto its task of expanding  market, promoting technological progress and inter-industry self-discipline, coordination and service  in 2003.

1. It is organizing "China International Bast Fiber Conference", with:

   Sponsor:     China National Textile Industry Council
   Organizers: China Bast and Leaf Fibers Textile 
                   Association & China Textile International Exchange Center
   Co-organizers: Bast Coordination Team of FAO, 
                       Japan Bast Textile Association, European Flax Textile 
                       Association, American Mesta Association, International  Jute Organization, etc.
   Theme: Science and technology, sustainable development

   Forms: Theme report, technological (academic)   exchange, technological and trade cooperation and  development forum, new technology and new product  exhibition, dynamic exhibition of bast textile products  

   Attendees: technical and management personnel from the fields of plantation, raw material processing,  textile manufacturing and other sectors, as well as from R&D institutions both in the country and abroad
                       
2. It is planning to hold "the fourth directors' meeting of the fourth China Bast and Leaf Fibers Textile  Association 2003".

3. It is scheduling to continue to organize bast textile enterprises to attend "China nternational Trade Fair  for Apparel Fabrics and Accessories" to be held in  Beijing and Shanghai as well as related promotions.
                       
4. It is preparing for "the First China International  Textile Yam Exhibition", which is co-organized by The  Sub-Council of Textile Industry CCPIT, China Cotton  Textile Association, China Wool Textile Association,  China Bast and Leaf Fibers Textile Association and China  Chemical Fiber Association. The first "China  International Textile Yam Exhibition" will be held in Shanghai World Trade City in Shanghai in September 2003.

5. It is planning to enhance international communication and cooperation.

In order to improve the understanding of international bast industry and market, enhance the relationship between related international industrial  associations, expand the influence of China bast textile  industry and enterprises and increase the opportunity of  trade and technological cooperation, the Association is  planning to organize a number of visiting groups,   including: a flax raw material trade group to France, a visiting group to attend China Textile Garments Exhibition and IFFE Exhibition to be held in the US and  trade group to Russia and Eastern European nations.

6. It is planning to further promote the certification for bast textile product symbol.
                       
7. The special technical committee (Bast Textile Professional Council of China Textile Engineering   Institute) is planning to hold technical exchanges and  trainings focused on "Suggestions on China Bast Textile  Industrial Technical Advancement". In addition, they are also planning to coordinate the inter-bast textile industry standardization process in conjunction with the Technical Group of Technical Council under China Bast and Leaf Fibers Textile Association.

8. It is scheduling to continue its statistics survey  and key economic indicator ranking.
                       
9. It is planning to make more efforts on the construction and services of "China Bast Textile Information Network".
                       
10. It is further improving "China Bast Textile Newsletter" and publishing the new edition  "Bast Textile Science and Technology" magazine.

11. All special committees are planning to provide customized professional industrial self-disciplinary coordination and service and preparing for the establishment of Raw Material Professional Council of  China Bast and Leaf Fibers Textile Association.
                       
12. It pledges to continue to provide economic consultation service for the industry.
                       
So Proud As the sole original technology in the area of  fiber by Chinese, soybean protein fiber has made us feel so proud. It will not be over-exaggerated if we refer to  this item of technological innovation as a great  contribution to the development of the world's fiber industry. But apart from such high praise, we might be  somehow worried: who's going to carry out its scale production and application? Recently, the ten  thousand-ton soybean protein fiber project of Changshu  Jianghetianrongsi Fiber Co., Ltd was completed and went  into operation, breaking the record of scale production of soybean protein fiber in the country and encouraging the industry with new hopes. How long will this  heart-felt expectation be turned into customer orders?
                       
How will the demands for new fibers by enterprises become the bright spots for industrial upgrade? How will they be translated into actual economic and social   benefits? We hope that this artificial reality will come  really soon. 
                             
In Spring 2003, CHIC opened. The sponsors were pleased by the size of the exhibition and the enthusiasm  among attending enterprises. Especially, the fact that  more and more overseas enterprises were attending the exhibition exemplified the promise that the  international textile community expected on CHIC. The rapid growth in the proportions of cotton and chemical  fiber fabrics among all exhibits signified the fundamental roles of cotton textile and chemical fiber sections in the upgrade process of the home-made fabrics industry. After viewing the exhibition, many insiders said that the overall style and color of fabrics in China had basically been integrated with the international fashion and that the quality had actually been improved. This really makes me feel happy. As an economic analyst, I am fully aware that the growth of 
textile exports--primarily fabric exports--has exceeded that of bulk garments during the past several years. The rapid increase in general garment trade has benefited  largely from the improvement in domestic fabrics  matching level. The improvement to the biggest bottleneck in textile industry--fabrics is closely related with the import of advanced weaving equipment in   large quantity from overseas. But, to achieve better development for fabric products, we need to make further innovations or breakthroughs in the development and  application of proud.

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