The Moldovan industrial sector has developed along with the privatization and liberalization in trade, especially since 2005, when the quotas in textile and apparel trade were eliminated by the WTO (World Trade Organization).
TAFL manufacturing is an industry with long-standing traditions in Moldova, which started successfully developing after World War II and remains one of the most important industries in the country. Since 1990, it has been restructured, upgraded and re-equipped, in order to meet market economy demands. The industry has recorded a continuous growth since 2000, significantly outperforming the overall development of Moldova’s industry. Nowadays, the sector is vibrant and it is represented by approximately 680 enterprises, ranging from micro to big.
Out of the total number of companies, 31 are classified as big companies, while the majority of them are Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
They are active in producing:
Leather, leather products, accessories
Currently, the TAFL industry plays an important role in the Moldovan economy, representing nearly ca. 14,4% of the country’s total export volume, 80% of which are exported to the EU countries, and the rest goes to CIS countries or is consumed in the domestic market.
The Government’s Industry Development Strategy lists the TAFL Sector as one of the key economic branches, given its significant advantages, such as:
the possibility to engage a large number of employees into various branch activities;
a relatively fast rotation cycle of current assets;
moderate investment needs;
a professional training system for employees in place.
Main export markets: Italy, Germany, Romania, Austria, France, USA, UK, Belgium, Bulgaria, Netherlands, Poland, Greece, as well as the CIS. Famous brands like Versace, Armani, Max & Co., NafNaf, Trussardi, Primark, Max Mara, Prada, Nike, Dolce & Gabbana, Moncler, Calvin Klein produce their clothes in Moldova.
Beside the fashion industry, Moldova is one of the main producers for workwear and uniforms, as well as for interiors for automotive industry such as steering wheels, car covers, and car seat covers. In Automotive interiors manufacturing are employed over 3500 employees out of total industry employment.
Corona pandemic stimulated the manufacturing of non-woven material and personal protective equipment (PPE) by switching from standard apparel and automotive covers to PPE (disposable face masks, protective overalls, scrubs, boot covers, etc.). Moldova apparel manufacturers are able to cover the needs of local market with PPEs, as well as export demand. The attractive operational costs, along with geographical location and harmonized customs procedure within the DCFTA, make Moldova attractive and competitive to deliver in optimal time the products to European market.
The TAFL sector employs more than 29,600 people, which represents 4 percent of the whole economy. Most of these jobs are rural-based and occupied by women (84%).
The TAFL industry production volumes are represented mainly by apparel production (ca. 47%), followed by other textile production (42%) and shoes, leather goods, and others. In 2018, the most significant increases in volume production in the TAFL sector were generated by Leather products (+17%) and Textiles (+5%).