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US Textile Industry Hosts Singapore Fashion And Apparel Delegation

US Textile Industry Hosts Singapore Fashion And Apparel DelegationA group of Singapore fashion and apparel company executives and managers recently visited the United States to shop for yarn and other textile raw materials to use in their products. The mission was the first in a series planned following the signing earlier this year of the US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (USSFTA).Led by International Enterprise Singapore and the Textile and Fashion Federation of Singapore (TaFf), the delegation visited locations in New York and the Carolinas. Stateside hosts included the American Textile Manufacturers Institute, American Yarn Spinners Association (AYSA), Cotton Incorporated, DuPont, Murata Machinery USA Inc., National Textile Association, South Carolina World Trade Center, Textile Distributors Association, the US Commercial Service and US manufacturers of cotton and man-made yarn and fabric. North Carolina Congressman Cass Ballenger also hosted the delegation.Under USSFTA, duty-free treatment is given to textiles and apparel made with yarns or fabrics originating in the United States and/or Singapore. The pact gives opportunities to US producers of fiber, yarn and fabric to export their products to Singapore and use that country as a distribution base for the Asian continent.According to Chan Heng Chee, the Republic of Singapores ambassador to the United States, US-Singapore two-way trade in 2002 totaled $1.1 billion, and current US textile exports to Singapore total $54 million. The upside potential [for cooperative trade] is immense, he said. Following the mission, Mike Hubbard, executive vice president, AYSA, Gastonia, N.C., commented, The fact that [the Singapore delegation] had the interest to come here is very positive. There seemed to be a genuine willingness on the part of both sides to work together.Patrick Lee, honorary president, TaFf, also was optimistic, particularly with regard to yarn trade, although he expressed some concerns about price. Price is a challenge, he said, but some spinners are willing to work with us.Both Hubbard and Lee acknowledged the market will be difficult because of shipping distances. This is more true for fabrics than for yarns, Lee said. However, he noted, Some Singapore companies have factories in the Caribbean Basin, so there are additional opportunities in that region.It was definitely a worthwhile visit, but both sides must work harder to overcome the challenges, Lee said. July 2003