The Light industry has long-standing traditions in Moldova, which started its successfull development after World War II and remains one of the most important industries in the country. Since 1990, the sector has been restructured, modernized and re-equipped to meet the requirements of the market economy. The industry has grown steadily since 2000, significantly exceeding the overall development of Moldova's industry. Currently, the sector is quite vibrant, being represented by about 680 enterprises, from micro to large.
Of the total number of companies, 31 are classified as large companies, while most are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Their areas of activity include:
Manufacture of wearing apparel
Leather, leather products, accessories
Currently, the TAFL industry plays an important role in the Moldovan economy, representing approx. 14.4% of the country’s total exports volume.
The main export markets for light industry products are: Italy, Germany, Romania, Austria, France, USA, Great Britain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Holland, Poland, Greece, as well as the CIS.
Among the well-known companies that make their clothes in the Republic of Moldova are: Versace, Armani, Max & Co., NafNaf, Trussardi, Primark, Max Mara, Prada, Nike, Dolce & Gabbana, Moncler, Calvin Klein etc.
The TAFL sector exports distribution (80% are exported to EU countries and the rest go to CIS countries or are consumed in the domestic market.)
Production volumes in the TAFL industry are mainly represented by clothing manufacturing (approximately 47%), followed by other textile manufacturing (42%) footwear, leather goods and others. In 2018, a significant increase in production volume in the TAFL sector were generated by leather (+ 17%) and textile (+ 5%) products.
The government's industry development strategy lists the textile industry as one of the key economic branches, given its significant advantages, such as:
- the possibility to employ a large number of employees in different activities of the branch;
- a relatively fast turnover cycle of current assets;
- moderate investment needs;
- a training system for employees.
In addition to the fashion industry, Moldova is one of the leading manufacturers of workwear and uniforms, as well as interiors for the automotive industry, such as steering wheels, car covers and car seat covers. More than 3,500 people in total industrial jobs are employed in the manufacture of car interiors.
The Coronavirus pandemic stimulated the manufacture of nonwovens and personal protective equipment (PPE) by switching from standard clothing and car cover to PPE (disposable masks, protective overalls, trunks, etc.). Moldovan clothing manufacturers are able to meet the needs of the local market with PPE, as well as export demand. The attractive operational costs, together with the geographical location and the harmonized customs procedure within the DCFTA, make Moldova an attractive and competitive country to deliver the products on the European market in a timely manner.
The light industry sector has over 29,600 employees, which represents 4% of the entire economy. Most of these jobs are in rural areas and are occupied by women (84%).
The profile association that consolidates the Fashion industry in the Republic of Moldova is APIUS - Light Industry Employers Association
APIUS is the owner of the umbrella label of Moldovan brands - DININIMA - the platform that promotes clothing, footwear and accessories made in the Republic of Moldova for domestic and international customers. DININIMA consolidates 80 Moldovan Brands, changing the way local fashion products are perceived locally and internationally.