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MANY Finnish companies from the textile industry have relocated their manufacturing recently from Asia to Europe. The Executive Director of the textile and clothing industry Finatex ry Anna-Kaisa Auvinen calls it a clear trend.

"Within the last couple of years we have gotten geographically closer. A part of companies having had their manufacturing relocated at one time to China still have their products made there, but many have come to the Baltics, while some are even looking for a business partner in Finland," she says.

For example Finlayson has concentrated all its manufacture in Europe.

"There are still some remnants in Asia but they are only waiting to be relocated now. Some manufacturing has even been brought back to Finland," says Executive Director Jukka Kurttila who is heading a company that produces bed sheets, towels and other furnishing textiles.

The most significant reasons behind the change are transportation distance and time.

"We live in a business that changes rapidly. We get the products faster when they are not sailing in a container on the ocean for months," Satumaija Mäki, the specialist of responsibility and public relations of Nanso Group, says.

Nanso Group, specialised in tights and socks, has relocated the manufacturing of some of its products from China to Turkey in the last three years.

Apart from distance, there are other reasons behind the change in the industry.

"The level of cost is not that low anymore, the delivery times are long and the quality is not constantly good. Even a single batch might vary in quality," the Executive Director of Image Wear Pekka Nikkanen says.

Work clothing manufacturer Image Wear tried making a small part of its manufacturing in Baltics from the beginning of 2000 to 2010. Since then, the manufacturing of its clothes has mainly remained there.

Nonetheless, the biggest Finnish companies in the textile industry have not returned their manufacturing to Europe, neither is it currently under consideration.

KESKISUOMALAINEN 23 November. MATTI PIETILÄINEN

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