What used to be competition has now become cooperation as we certainly cannot be a producer of everything and neither do our competitors. As such, we must realign ourselves towards this perspective and begin to figure out ways to strengthen each other through cooperation. A competition that is fierce leads to casualties, and in a labour-intensive industry such as ours, we certainly cannot sacrifice our workers’ welfare for the sake of efficiency. That said, Indonesia has a competitive advantage particularly with regards to the quality of its textile products as we are already well-known for this. As a result, this country’s products have been very well-received in Europe, USA as well as in Asia. The industry itself holds importance with close to 2 million people employed in this sector.
The only present issue which we must address concerning the sector is the availability of raw materials, or lack thereof. Speaking about difficulties upstream, Indonesia is unable to grow cotton due to its climate; that is a given. An alternative material, however, comes in the form of a synthetic fibre called rayon which is produced from eucalyptus wood. Sritex Group is already taking steps to resolve this by planning to develop a facility for producing rayon with an investment of $380 million USD. This project is currently being extensively assessed prior to its implementation this year.