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Textile News

Commerce Official Cites Textile Export Efforts

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

At a meeting with South Carolina manufacturing executives this week, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Textiles and Apparel Kimberly Glas outlined steps her office is taking to promote textile exports in an effort to help overcome some of the industry's economic difficulties.

Glas spoke at a textile summit conducted by the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance in Columbia, S.C.

Pointing out that "few domestic manufacturing sectors have been impacted more by the ongoing global economic situation than the textile and apparel industry," she said President Barack Obama and his trade officials are making export promotion a "cornerstone" of their trade policies. She said all of the agencies involved in international trade are exploring ways to ensure financing is available to firms interested in exporting their goods.

Glas did not discuss textile and apparel imports that are a major concern for US textile manufacturers.

The need for financing has become increasingly important to US textile manufacturers in view of their involvement in regional and bilateral trade agreements that in most cases call for the use of US fabric and yarn in programs providing preferential treatment for imports of apparel.

"We need to  provide the tools necessary to make financing more readily available to the industry," Glas said. "We are trying to find out how the government can help you gain access to additional loans and grants that you need during these tough economic times."

As part of her office, Glas chairs the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements and supervises the negotiation and implementation of textile trade agreements.

In a related development, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) this week held a conference involving small- and medium-sized manufacturers and government agencies to highlight export opportunities and how companies can become involved. Results of a study of small- and medium-sized companies released at the conference showed 86 percent of the companies surveyed said their export sales are increasing faster than domestic sales.

In the opening address at the conference, Small Business Administrator (SBA) Karen Mills emphasized the need to identify, train and support potential small business exporters, stating: "Expanding into foreign markets provides businesses significant opportunities to grow and create jobs. The SBA is focused on helping small businesses meet this untapped potential to compete on a global level while creating good-paying jobs."

Deputy USTR Mariam Shapiro said that in order for US manufacturers to succeed in the export marketplace, "we need to continue to break down barriers to trade and make it easier for Main Street American businesses to sell their goods and services around the world."

In order to help implement new initiatives, USTR Ron Kirk announced the creation of an Assistant United StatesTrade Representative for Small Business, Market Access and Industrial Competitiveness.

January 26, 2010