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ATMI Report Emphasizes Optomistic Future

Optimistic hopes for the future even with weakened textile activity and reduced textile shipments caused by imports of low-cost Asian textiles were the major topics covered by Doug Ellis, president of the American Textile Manufacurers Institute (ATMI), in the recent textile industry year-end trade and economic report from ATMI.

According to the report, overall prices of Asian fabrics and yarns continued to fall, dropping by 6.5 percent for fabric and 7. percent for yarn, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

"This hurt our domestic market shipments as well as our exports to the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) region." Ellis said.

"On a positive note, import growth from Asia moderated. Asian fabric imports increased only 2 percent, while imports rose only 3 percent.

"Also, our exports to Mexico continued their strong growth, with textile and apparel shipments rising by 19 percent during the first 10 months of the year and reaching a record high of $4.4 billion.

"Looking to the future," Ellis continued, "it is interesting to note that even during these very competitive times, our two largest textile export markets -- Mexico and the CBI -- have continued to take market share from the Far East.

"Their combined share of apparel imports during 1999 rose from 39.1 percent to 40.1 percent, while the Far East's share fell from 36.6 percent to 35.8 percent. This trend reinforces the need for swift enactment of the CBI bill approved overwhelmingly in November by the Senate.

"The Senate bill will help all segments of the U.S. textile industry, while harming no one. It will be a win-win for the United States as well as the nations of the Caribbean," Ellis said.

February 2000