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China wool industry development

The wool industry is seeing dramatic changes nowadays. While not too long ago, greasy wool has been processed in dozens of wool washing factories all over the world, many enterprises in Europe, Australia and the US had to close due to the industry’s ongoing crisis. Following plant closings in the 90’s and early 2000’s, last year created the deepest cut in the Western wool industry. Wool mills were shut down in Italy, Hungary, France, Germany, Australia and the US, including previous industry leaders like BWK and Jandakot. In most cases the washing machineries are being re-installed in China, where wool can be washed at lower costs and a strongly growing local market for woolen textiles is to be served. China has become the no. 1 country in the world for wool processing. In 1999, less than 25% of wool produced in Australia was washed in China. For 2010 experts await a share of more than 80 % in Australian greasy wool processing. In previous years China's wool washing factories would not meet Western standards in quality and created environmental issues in some cases. Today, some of the world’s largest and most modern facilities very well meet European and US wool buyers’ demands. China’s government has learned from past failures and installed strict environmental regulations, requiring heavy investments in waste-water treating systems for the wool washing plants. As smaller factories cannot always meet these demands there is a trend for concentrating in larger units today.