Textile firms mark 35 years of ties at US expo

Chinese fabric and textile companies are showcasing the strong ties they have with New York City's fashion and garment industries, with nearly 300 exhibiting their products at the 2014 International Apparel Sourcing Expo.

The show - now in its 15th year - opened on Tuesday and runs until Thursday at the Javits Center in Manhattan. It features a record 768 exhibitors from 24 countries. It is organized by the China National Textile and Apparel Council and Messe Frankfurt USA.

"The trade show shows that the Chinese textile industry and its US counterparts and trading partners can enjoy an orderly and stable free trade environment and enhance communication while deepening mutual understanding," said China National Textile and Apparel Council President Wang Tiankai in opening remarks.

Wang said that the textile industry in China is a major contributor to the global economy and the industry will "continue to make an effort to write a new chapter in the extensive cooperation of the textile industries of the two countries".

Lu Kang, minister of China's embassy in the United States, said that China's textile and fabric industries significantly contribute to US-China bilateral relations. The expo is taking place during the 35th anniversary of the US and China re-establishing diplomatic ties.
In those 35 years, bilateral trade has increased 200 times.

"Our cross-border investment started from scratch, and it reached more than $100 billion last year. These close commercial ties between our two countries are mutually beneficial," Lu said. "In the process, the textile trade plays an increasingly important role, because living standards are better and people attach more and more importance to their clothing. As a proverb says, 'Clothes make the man'."

Exhibitors were categorized as apparel, home goods or textiles, with professionals showcasing embroidery, denim, lace, linen, silk, wool and more.

"The last time we were at this expo was in 2011, when the financial crisis was still affecting business, so turnout wasn't great. We're looking to see if things pick up this year, which is why we're here," said Kathy Lin, manager of Shenzhen-based Heng Li String and Braid.

The company sells lace and cotton applique and elastic, with the core of its customers in the US and Europe.

Kashion America, the US arm of Ningbo-based Kashion, is exhibiting at the show for the first time. The company is looking to expand its client base in the US, according to Vice-President Richard Wang, after having focused mostly on European customers for 12 years.

In a note celebrating the start of the trade show, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio wrote: "As a premier fashion capital, New York City proudly welcomes the world's top designers, manufacturers and buyers to the largest textile sourcing event in North America.

"The fashion industry is critical to New York City's cultural and economic success, employing 180,000 New Yorkers and generating more than $10 billion in wages each year."

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