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South Carolina Textiles Summit Focuses On Industry's Future

Three studies released at a textile industry summit held last week in Spartanburg indicate the industry still has much to contribute to South Carolina's economy, even as it is changing to reflect a new dynamic.

"The Future of Textiles in S.C." was organized by New Carolina™, South Carolina's Council on Competitiveness, a public-private partnership established to help increase per capita income and promote a competitive business climate in South Carolina.  The summit brought together 100 textile industry and economic development leaders to talk about the industry's future and find new competitive avenues in the state. The program included a presentation of findings from three studies commissioned by New Carolina: "The Contribution of the Textile and Apparel Cluster to the South Carolina Economy," and "South Carolina's Textile and Apparel Industries: An analysis of Trends in Traditional and Emerging Sectors," both conducted by Clemson University researchers; and " Improving the Global Market Competitiveness of the Textile Industry Cluster in S.C.," conducted by North Carolina State University researchers. New Carolina also launched www.SCTextileConnect.com, an Internet resource for the South Carolina textile industry.

The summit is part of a larger effort to build a cluster of textile-related companies that can collaborate to develop and expand their offerings and thereby attract jobs and investment to
bolster the state's economy.

"By building the textiles cluster in South Carolina, we can increase productivity of existing companies in the state, drive innovation, stimulate the formation of new businesses within the cluster, and recruit new companies to the state," said George Fletcher, executive director, New Carolina. "Contrary to a widely held belief, textiles are not dead in South Carolina. In reality, the industry is reinventing itself, becoming more high-tech and high-skill. South Carolina is in an ideal position to capitalize on the high-paying jobs that will come from this re-emerging industry."

November/December 2008

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