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