Textile firms make sales pitch
in the textile and apparel industry,” said Zhang Qiyue, Chinese consul general in New York. “I’m confident the trade show will facilitate the cooperation.”
She said China’s textile and fabric industries significantly contribute to US-China bilateral relations. From 2000 to 2014, bilateral textile and apparel commerce grew from $6.2 billion to $46 billion. The industry is an important area of economic activity in that it creates jobs and strengthens China-US relations.
“This year is a particularly important one for China as well as the United States, as Chinese President Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to the US in the coming September,” Zhang said. “I am confident this visit will build sustainable results and put bilateral ties to an even higher level.”
According to the China National Bureau of Statistics, exports from China to the US increased slightly from January to May. In April, the export of textile and apparel to the US increased 7.8 percent.
However, industry insiders said the business in the US is in a rough patch.
Zhao Miaoqi, manager of a Ningbo fabric private company, said the company’s US orders shrank by 30 percent in 2014. “I’m 75 years old, coming all the way to visit the market to study the reasons behind the slump.”
Zhao’s company started doing business with European brands like Zara and Adidas in the 1980s. “I like doing businesses with the US; the market is usually steady” and people can be trusted, Zhao said.
“As the business is not as easy as before, customers are becoming savvy and even picky about prices and services,” said Deng Zhijuan, an officer from a Shanghai company. “We have to upgrade services and put forward refreshing products more often to retain our customers.”
She added that the demand for high-priced fabrics such as silk has decreased, while synthetic fabrics like viscose and rayon polyester are more popular in the US market.
Winter collections also could be found at the show. Jiangsu Sainty Fortune, a state- owned company, brought its winter collection to New York.
“The US and Canada are now contributing more than 50 percent of our business,” said Deng. “As Europe’s economy is going down, the percentage will grow higher. And the US’ economy is picking up, and the market is more significant for us.”
Zhang Qiyue (third from right), China’s consul general in New York; Sun Ruizhe (fourth from right), vice-chairman of the China National Textile and Apparel Council; and Detlef Braun (second from left), board member of Messe Frankfurt GmbH, cut ribbon at the opening ceremony for China Textile and Apparel Trade Show on Tuesday in New York.