A woman checks children dresses at the Syrian textile manufacturers fair at the Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut, Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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Syrian textile and garment manufacturers are coalescing in Beirut in an attempt to revive their war-devastated industry. Manufacturers, trade associations and international buyers are meeting for a three-day trade fair, the Syrian Fashion Fair, at the Phoenicia Hotel where they hope to secure in $70 million in new export deals for children's wear and lingerie. Textiles had been a cornerstone in the Syrian export economy in the years leading up to the crisis, as part of efforts to diversify the country's economy away from oil. But three years of conflict in the country has cost the industry dearly. While accurate figures are impossible to collect, the vice president of the Syrian Garments and Textiles Exporters Association, Firas Takialdine, says around 70 percent of production facilities have been destroyed or are now nonoperational.The cancellation of the Turkish Free Trade Agreement in 2012 means Syrian manufacturers are no longer competing with cheaper and often higher quality Turkish imports, manufacturers and economists said.
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