The annual international textile conference “The Development of Textile & Apparel Industry under the Regional Economic Integration” was held October 20, 2015 at the Taipei World Trade Center in Taiwan. It is orchestrated by two of the world’s largest organizations, the Taiwan Textile Federation and the International Cotton Advisory Committee.
President of the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) Ms. Julia K. Hughes was the keynote speaker at the conference that focused on three core aspects of the world’s textile industry and its future. Hughes represents the United States fashion industry’s perspective that operates business worldwide. This includes predominately textile and apparel brands, retailers, importers, and wholesalers based businesses.
The most important discussion at the event had an emphasis on the Trans-Pacific Partnership with the potential impacts on the global textile market. Second, was discussing the probable effects of regional economic integration on manufacturing and trade of global textiles in the apparel industry.
The central goal of the USFIA is to eliminate the global apparel tariff and non-tariff barriers that impact the industry’s ability to trade freely. The organizations logic is to create economic opportunities in the United States and in foreign countries.
However, it is in the main interest of the organizations to not only lead the direction of event but to influence attendee’s interests in accepting the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s objective.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is meant to help promote trade between all participating countries, including textile exporters like Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam, by reducing tariffs associated with importing and exporting goods from one country to another. Full details of the U.S. goals are located at the Office of U.S. Trade Representative under Trans-Pacific Partnership: Summary of U.S. Objectives.
For the U.S. economy it seems like a huge plus to pass the bill, but in reality it is more complicated than that. Those in favor of the Trans-Pacific Partnership argue that big companies will be able to pass those savings on to the consumer and thus encouraging more consumer spending. For fashion companies that manufacture in the U.S. and not abroad, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is meant to make our American-made products seem more attractive to foreign countries.
But on the flipside, if it becomes more affordable to import goods from abroad it may further discourage more companies from manufacturing here in the U.S.
The 12 economies forming the decade long strive for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, collectively represent roughly 40 percent of the world’s economic output.
“Our government has enough time to help our textile industry stand back on its feet.” noted the US Congressional Research Service.
Though the free-trade agreement is still awaiting final approval by the US Congress, most of the non- Trans-Pacific Partnership textile-producing nations have already started to consider the deal’s potential implications on their countries exports.
According to the Dawn, Business & Finance Publication, there was a foreign economical worrisome feedback at the conference. That exports of textiles and apparel to the US from most non- Trans-Pacific Partnership countries would be negatively impacted after the agreement is finalized. Large fabric textile exporters like India, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Pakistan would most likely endure the most harmful economic effects in relationship to the deals details.
“Vietnam, being a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade zone, is being tipped to emerge as the biggest winner from the deal, followed by Malaysia.” said Nasir Jamal, writer for the Dawn, Business & Finance Publication.
This forecast may be due to Vietnam’s textile industrial growth of $1 billion in foreign investment during the first half of 2015, opposed to Pakistan’s textile exports which fell by roughly 10% during the last financial year and by 14% in the first quarter of 2015.
Many exporters at the conference insisted that the conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal would not damage foreign exports significantly.
In relationship to imported fabric textiles to the U.S., imports work under a ‘yarn-forward’ rule. According to the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Summary of U.S. Objectives found at the Office of U.S. Trade Representative the ‘yarn-forward’ rule “requires that textile and apparel products be made using U.S. or other TPP country yarns and fabrics to qualify for the benefits of the agreement, so as to ensure that non-qualifying textiles and apparel from non-TPP countries do not enjoy the benefits reserved for TPP countries.”
While the U.S. textile industry is small with exports mostly going to our neighboring countries, the U.S. textile manufacturers at the conference were generally concerned over the deals inclusions.
With the foreign textile industry is virtually on the verge of folding in because of various unavoidable social, political, and economical factors, the final effort of the conference initiative to improve productivity fell to the waste side. If the occasion has more of a focus on developing innovative materials and manufacturing technologies, maybe the event’s message would have changed the direction at which the industry is slowly heading.
Though the overall economic effects are still up for debate, currently there has not been any evidence that the textile exports in relationship to the possible impacts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership would benefit foreign countries. Only forecasting from a basis of economic trade principles have all speculative conclusions been drawn from and not thoroughly tested.
Once the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal details are completed, only then will experts be able to determine any repercussions on foreign economies and on the U.S Economy from textile imports and exports. While the decision may be hard in deciding what stance to take on the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, the most important uncertainties are often found in the deals minor details.
Tyler J. Drinnen, is the Founder and Editor in Chief of iTEM MAGAZINE. His primary goal as a Fashion Creative, is to document fashion history in the streetwear and art sector.
From the lens of an abstract visual content producer, he holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies from Sonoma State University; where he wrote a weekly Opinion Column for The Star, dabbled with his own radio podcast format, titled Saturday Nite Scandal, and helped to create one of the first Professional Student Lead PR Firms in the USA.
From there on, he continued his work by interning with Sonoma Discoveries Magazine and then shortly after wrote and interned for Fashion School Daily, where he solidified his love for feature writing and working with emerging talents from around the world.
In December of 2016, he received an Honorary Master of Arts in Fashion Journalism from the Academy of Art University – And what an achievement that was, to be the first in his program to have graduated a full semester early – Bringing him to four design oriented degrees in a short five and a half years, nothing will stop him from bringing art of the few, to the eyes of many.
He has worked in the fashion industry for just over a decade, from commercial retail visual management to corporate level ghost writing and consulting. Now, in this exact moment, T.J.D. takes his life public with the independent urban California lifestyle based fashion movement, iTEM MAGAZINE: A Platform For Rising Artists.