By  on February 24, 1994

WASHINGTON -- The Commerce Department is sponsoring an American Pavilion at the fall edition of Igedo Dessous, Germany's big intimate apparel trade show, to be held Sept. 11-13 in Dusseldorf.

It will mark the first time the government has done such an exhibit at Igedo Dessous since 1985 and reflects the upward trend of U.S. exports to that market.

Exports of U.S.-made intimate apparel to Germany are expected to grow between 10 and 15 percent in 1994 against 1993, according to the Commerce Department. Germany is the fastest-growing export market for robes and dressing gowns, reaching $259,000 in the year ended Sept. 30, 1993, compared with $187,000 in the prior 12-month period, according to Commerce.

Germany also buys more made-in-America sleepwear than any country other than Canada and Mexico, with purchases totaling $2.5 million in the year ended Sept. 30, compared with $1.6 million a year earlier.

Swimwear is also planned for the U.S. exhibit. Although small, the volume of swimwear exports to Germany also is growing fast, reaching $128,000 in the year ended Sept. 30, compared with $47,000 in the prior 12 months.

The export figures include all types of innerwear and swimwear -- women's, men's and children's. Separate figures are not available.

The plans for the American Pavilion recognize that U.S. firms can do more in the overall prosperous German apparel market, said Maura Kim, an apparel trade specialist with the Commerce Department. American companies now have a 5 percent share of that market, she said.

"Germany has the highest per capita consumption of women's wear in the western world," said Kim, who added that since 1985, much of the Commerce Department's export focus generally has been on textiles.

As for Igedo Dessous, only a handful of American companies usually participate.

"It's so big that it's very, very challenging. They might get passed by," Kim said.

To help businesses find their way, Commerce and the U.S. Embassy in Germany are offering exhibitor booths measuring 10 by 12 square feet in the U.S. pavilion for $5,000, and 20-by-24-foot booths for $7,500.

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