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The Rupp Report: ITMF In Barcelona, 100 Years Later

Jürg Rupp, Executive Editor

Barcelona! What a sound. Even the late Freddie Mercury and Spanish opera star Montserrat Caballé sang a song together about the Catalan capital city. And Barcelona is not only in the focus because it is the home of the best soccer club in the world — arguing with Real Madrid fans will be refused — but also because important textile activities soon will take place in the city.

The International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF) is one of the oldest non-governmental organizations. It was founded in 1904 in Zurich, Switzerland, at a meeting convened on the initiative of the British cotton spinning industry. That's why it still has not only a very close relationship with the entire cotton industry, but also strong ties with the whole textile industry. ITMF is considered by many to be the most important and highest-ranking textile association worldwide. Members are associations and other constituted organizations of textile manufacturers. There can be only one member association from each country.

New Ways
On the one hand, textile industry professionals are invited to attend ITMA 2011, the world's largest textile and garment technology showcase and business platform. The exhibition will take place September 22-29 at Fira de Barcelona Gran Vía in Barcelona. But the textile community also will have the opportunity to attend some other events that never have taken place before in the planned context.

For the first time in its history, the ITMF 2011 Annual Conference will be held prior to ITMA 2011. Bashir H. Ali Mohammad, ITMF president, and Dr. Christian Schindler, director general, will host this important event September 19-21.

New Paradigms
"Coincidence or not," Schindler said, "the first ITMF conference in Barcelona took place exactly 100 years ago. And over the last 100 years, we have come back to Barcelona four times up to now." The motto of the conference this year is "New Paradigms in the Global Textile Industry." A paradigm could be described as a standard model of something, for example, like the textile industry. And this industry is still in a big transition in terms of raw material, production and value chains. Speakers from around the world will report on the current situation and developments in the fiber, retail and technical textiles sectors.

To mention just a few issues, there are soaring raw material prices, volatile markets, currency disputes and political instability as well as the continuation of the Doha Round of trade liberalization negotiations. Schindler says that "these are but a few of the many challenges that affect the recovery of the global economy in general and the global textile industry in particular."

New Events
All delegates and participants of the ITMF conference will have free access to the World Textile Summit, a one-day event organized jointly by ITMF and ITMA owner the European Association of Textile Machinery Manufacturers (CEMATEX), and taking place September 21, the day before the opening of ITMA 2011. This cooperative summit is another new direction in the history of ITMF. The event will feature international speakers who will give their views and visions of such key topics as sustainability, enterprise, trade and economics.

The World Textile Summit will bring together textile industry leaders and will offer attendees the possibility of discussing pertinent issues with the speakers. One of the keynote speakers will be former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan.

And there is another day to celebrate, not only the 100th anniversary of ITMF's first conference in Barcelona, but also the 60th anniversary of  ITMA, which started its activities 1951. But that's another story.More information on the ITMF event is available at www.itmf.org.

May 17, 2011