U.S. Hosts Singapore Fashion And Apparel Delegation

U.S. Hosts SingaporeFashion And Apparel Delegation

A 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 New York, and North and South Carolina.
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 U.S.
Commercial Service, North Carolina Congressman Cass Ballenger and U.S. manufacturers of cotton and
man-made yarn and fabric.Under the 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 Singapore’s ambassador to the United States, U.S.-Singapore two-way trade in 2002
totaled $1.1 billion, and current U.S. 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.“But some
spinners are willing to work with us,”he said.Both Hubbard and Lee acknowledged the markets 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
opportunities in that region. “It was definitely a worthwhile visit, but both sides must work
harder to overcome the challenges,”Lee said.

Fall 2003