Issues affecting US-India textile and apparel trade will come under focus during the second annual 'Sourcing Apparel-India Expo' beginning here June 8 through June 9.
Hundreds of Indian apparel manufacturers and U.S. importers are expected to attend the expo at the Penn Plaza Pavilion. The expo will offer a wide range of manufacturer exhibits as well as seminars on issues trade issued.
The event is being co-sponsored by customs and international trade law firm Sandler, Travis, & Rosenberg, P.A. and India's Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC).
In addition to networking with exhibitors, expo attendees will be able to participate in three seminars that will explore key aspects of sourcing textile and apparel production in India. The expo will be addressed, among others by Nicole Bivens Collinson, ST&R vice president for trade negotiations and legislative affairs, who will discuss U.S. trade policy and its impact on sourcing decisions.
Her remarks are also expected to focus on how to take advantage of new strategic sourcing opportunities in a post-quota world, understanding how proliferation of free trade agreements and preference programs is changing the industry, and planning now for emerging markets.
Since the end of the end of the global textile quota regime from January this year, there had been concerns among some in the garment industry regarding possible adverse effect it might have on the US industry.
The Birnbaum Report, a sourcing newsletter for both garment industry buyers and suppliers, noted last month that the elimination of quotas was causing repercussions that are being felt worldwide.
'The stage has now been set for China and India, who provide manufacturers with low cost and efficient production, to dominate the world textile and apparel industry," said David Birnbaum, international garment industry expert and author of the Birnbaum Report. "That could be devastating to the U.S. garment industry as well as to less competitive countries in Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa that employ millions of workers," he said.
So worried have been some of the American textile manufacturers because of the end of quota regime and China's entry to the US in full swing that trade associations have filed petitions calling for what is known as China Safeguard to block Chinese textiles. This, however, has been opposed tooth and nail by the US Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel (USA-ITA).
But not all are worried as many in the industry feel that end of the quota regime will ultimately do more good than harm. "There is a definite spurt in interest among both US retailers and importers in India thanks to the end of the quota system and that is why big ones like J C Penny and Banana Republic are going to India and tying up with buying agencies," Gul Samtani, chairman and CEO of two companies Tanzara and Plus Impact Limited told rediff.com recently.
Others like Elaine M Roy, vice-president of Home Products, American Home Furniture, whose company sells linens, table linens, dinnerware and rugs, said although AHF imports from China, the company is paying more attention to India now. "We are beginning to work with India much more these days," Roy told rediff.com.
She said that her company being a smaller one, the existence of the quota system was not really a major issue. "But as we are adding new stores in the US every year, the end of the quota system will be an important factor in increasing our uptake from India," Roy said.
Although no exact estimate of US importers from India were available, officials believe the number runs into hundreds. In anticipation of the end of the quota system, many US retailers have set up presence in India or are readying to do so in order to buy directly from manufacturers rather than through importers in the US. These companies include retail giants like J C Penny and Wal-Mart, Kmart and international brands such as Gap and Tommy Hilfiger.
During the June 8-9 expo, where exhibitors of leading Indian apparel products exporters will be present, US apparel importers will have a unique opportunity to meet personally with India's top full package, private label and CMT manufacturers and view the latest designs in men's, women's and children's clothing all under one roof.