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From The Editor
James M. Borneman, Editor In Chief

Growing The Western Hemisphere

James M. Borneman, Editor In Chief

T here is certainly no shortage of negative news about the state of the textile and apparel industries in the United States. But rather than focusing on the negative, we prefer to focus on the growth opportunities that exist right here in our own hemisphere.” So stated Stewart Little, senior vice president, customer development, Unifi Inc., while addressing the first annual AAPNetwork Sourcing Manager Awards Reception, held on the eve of Material World in Miami Beach, Fla.

Lion Brothers Co. Inc., Owings Mills, Md., and Unifi Inc., Greensboro, N.C., sponsored the American Apparel Producers’ Network event at the The Wolfsonian Museum, to honor sourcing managers who are key to the success of today's apparel supply chain.

“In terms of imports and the supply chain, … the rise in imports masks regional shifts in global sourcing. Regional trade legislation, such as NAFTA, the CBI and the Andean Pact, favors fabrics made with synthetic yarns, and this presents significant opportunities for companies such as Unifi,” Little continued. “Regional growth will not happen on its own. But the value to U.S. companies and consumers is significant, and through the focused efforts of key industry leaders such as ourselves, large volumes of apparel can be profitably brought back to this region.”

Unifi has made the strategic commitment to embrace the development of the apparel supply chain in the Western Hemisphere. It’s no secret that many believe this is the only plausible strategy to compete with China in the face of quota eliminations in 2005. The seemingly endless zero-labor-cost capacity of China’s manufacturing base, coupled with the U.S. government’s position on China, “free” trade and the World Trade Organization (WTO), bolster this argument — make the West work efficiently based on time-to-market, or drown at the hands of the East based on low costs.

Unifi’s solution, in Little’s words is to “facilitat[e] dialogue that brings the regional supply chain together to deliver the right products at the right price and at the right time to U.S. retailers and brands.” This is something the industry needs to embrace more fully.

Little went on to say, “Working together, we believe we can create positive news in the years ahead for the textile and apparel industries in the U.S.” — encouraging words that demand the strategic commitment of all participants in the apparel supply chain.

November 2002