Linen: a truly global congress in Budapest
On 5-7 November, the European Confederation of Linen and Hemp (CELC) held the industry’s second international congress in Budapest. The event once again welcomed a significant contingent of Chinese, Japanese and Indian players.
From farmers to spinners and weavers, the event’s second edition saw more than 250 international professionals descend upon the Hungarian capital. "This is a unique opportunity to meet for a sector whose members only get together for the conference," said Marie-Emmanuelle Belzung, director of CELC and organizing director of the event.
Hosting professionals from the Japanese linen promotional organization Asabo, representatives of the Chinese federation CBLFTA and a delegation from the Indian industry, the event appears to have grown since its debut in 2012 in Brussels.
The conference welcomed several industry VIP’s, including Alberto Paccanelli, president of the European Textile and Apparel Organization, Euratex; Ren Weiming, the discreet director of Chinese company Kingdom, the world's largest linen weaver; and Jos de Smedt, head of the Flemish government’s agriculture division.
The event came at the end of a complex period for the sector. Linen fiber, 80% of which is produced in France, Belgium and the Netherlands, saw prices collapse in 2012 as a result of higher volumes of production than in the past.
At this year’s congress, linen producers have particularly expressed their desire to control production in order to maintain their income. At the same time, their Chinese and Indian customers have called for an increase in production to meet growing demand.
Hence the call to action issued by Depourcq Bart, president of the CELC. "We are a fully globalized industry,” he said. “We therefore have to consider both upstream and downstream links. Without reliable international indicators, the industry’s strategy remains uncertain. My firm belief is that we must trust one another in order to respectively make the right decisions.” He has therefore called upon foreign partners to share data regarding their respective sectors.
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