Thursday 27 May 2010

Techtextil Atlanta: May 18th-20th 2010

Three overlapping conferences and an exhibition meant that only a selection of the available presentations could be covered.  Themes included Natural Fibres and Sustainable Materials, Filtration Opportunities for Nonwovens, Nonwoven Technology Update, Medical and Biotechnology and Technical Textiles R&D.  The exhibition was small compared with the Frankfurt version and contained little of interest for disposable hygiene products.

Keynote: Textile Trade Trends and Technical Textiles 

Kim Glas, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Textiles and Apparel, USDOC, Washington, D.C., USA and an Obama appointee, listed the top 5 sources of US textiles and apparel in 2009 as China ($32bn) Vietnam ($5.3bn) India ($4.6bn), Mexico ($4.1bn) and Indonesia ($4bn).  Total imports amounted to $81bn while total exports were only $13.6bn, mainly to Canada ($3.5bn) and Mexico ($3.2bn).  Free Trade Agreements were the key to reducing this textile trade-gap: 17 of were already in place and a further 3 were pending, but none so far were with any of the top 10 countries supplying the USA.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership FT Agreement was facilitating exports to the Pacific Rim which now accounts for 40% of global trade, and the first round of talks involving the USA were held in March this year in Australia.  The USA,  Australia, Peru and Vietnam will be added to the original members, Brunei, Chile, Singapore and New Zealand shortly.  In total the Free Trade Agreement countries take 70% of US textile exports but together they only account for 9% of global GDP.

Support for the textile industry included the requirement that the Department of Homeland Security bought...