11th ACFIF – Welcome Address, R.D. Udeshi

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I welcome you all to India.

It gives me immense pleasure to welcome you, it’s time to meet old friends, make new ones and walk another mile together.

The month of April holds great significance in India; with onset of the spring, Mother Earth prepares itself for new life.Indians celebrate the traditional New Year during this period. I wish you all a prosperous, wealthy and healthy New Year.

In the past twenty one years, since the inception Asian Chemical Fiber Industries Federation has come a long way. In these years of coexistence we have tasted prosperity, success and have shown resilience in facing challenges. Today, the Asian man-made fibre industry holds the largest pie in the global market with 90% share. We are clothiers to the world.

At this juncture, I would like to make a special mention of Dr. Katunosuke Maeda who had played a key role in the establishment of the Federation in 1996 in Tokyo.  He was a visionary and always wanted the Chemical Fibre Industry in Asia to work in a spirit of co-operation for co-prosperity.  He was Chairman of ACFIF from 1996 to 2002. He was nominated as the Honorary Chairman at the Fourth Federation conference when Mr. Nikhil Meswani took over as Chairman of the Federation.  Dr. Maeda passed away on the 7th of Aprilin 2013, and his contribution to Federation will always be remembered and cherished.

Taking his vision forward, the Federation has grown to be a strong body thriving on the ideas of sharing and cooperation. We have worked hand in hand to collate industry statistics and knowledge for the common benefit of each one of us.I am reminded of a quote, “…If you want to walk far, walk together”.

The past two decades of our existence have been eventful, on one part we saw a phase of rapid growth, while on the other we faced the worst economic recession that the world has ever seen in recent times. These experiences have taught us new lessons and we have emerged into a New Normal. While the global economy is still recovering from the blow, growth remains staggered and slow. Global growth estimates have been culled lower to 3.4% for 2017 and 3.6% for 2018 as reported by IMF. Although the growth is slower, it is improving and bears hope for demand generation. Asia is driving this growth and is likely to grow at 6.4% for 2017. Asian countries are the fastest growing region and the major focus of demand growth.

Our Federation has over the years significantly improved the data and knowledge sharing motives.This has benefitted overall growth of all member associations. This paved way to structurally understand the size of markets and plug any gaps and work towards a common goal. As we move forward and the world looks upon Asia as the textile and clothing basket of the world we have greater responsibilities on the anvil.  Now we have to relook at the objectives of ACFIF going forward.

The Global fibre demand is likely to continue to grow at a rate of 2-3% annually, while the man-made fibre demand will grow at higher rate of 3-4%. With the global population rising and urbanisation taking faster pace, the competition would further intensify for arable land to grow food crops or fibre crops. The majority of clothing needs of the future would be met through man-made fibres.

We have to rise together to capture the emerging opportunities and have to modify focus towards a New Normal. Today’s global economy is constantly on tenterhooks and is extremely volatile. I would call it a VUCA world, Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. We have to mend ways to shield ourselves from the extremities while at the same time be prepared to make most out of the opportunities.

As envisioned by Mr. Maeda, we have to work towards a common goal for co-prosperity. As the commodity markets gradually mature we need to work towards more value addition in-house. The advanced economies are already matured and seek more customised, innovative,and fashionableproducts while developing countries are already moving towards it. We have to work towards developing technology, new end uses and swifter supply chains to adapt to the changing times. While working at it we also have to work towards sharing technology, know how, and policies more freely. I call upon all members to throw in ideas as to how we can work towards a technology and expertise sharing platform that can bring about a holistic development of the region.

The other topic that holds a lot of significance today is environment. We have to be environmentally responsible and make the world a healthy place to live in. We have to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

  • Reduce the production of waste
  • Reuse waste in innovative ways, and
  • Recycle waste into new forms

Let us vow together to transform “man-made fibre” to “Responsible Man-made fibre” and add the fourth “R” to the three Rs of the environment care.

Standardisation holds a great significance as we grow. This would make policies easy to implement, transfer to technology easier and trade smoother. Let us work together to bring in better standards in working environments, technology enhancement, traceability and trade. This would make us globally more acceptable by other partners and consumers, while protecting the benefits of members and our own people.

As we set ourselves to enjoy, learn, share and grow during these two days let us also celebrate the platinum jubilee of polyester invention. Polyester today is the largest man-made fibre accounting for the 75% of the global man-made fibre consumption. Polyester was patented 75 years ago and the transformation of the world of man-made fibre begun. Today as we cruise through these two days let us pay tribute to this extraordinary invention and carve our path for the coming years of growth.

Lastly, I thank you all for nominating me asthe Chairman of the Federation for the next two years and I am honoured to have your trust and support. I believe the two day conference will be a success and wish you all a pleasant stay in India.

Thank You.

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