The American Apparel & Footwear Association and the Hong Kong General Chamber of Textiles Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday to facilitate cooperation between the two organizations.

The memorandum articulates a number of areas of cooperation, including strengthening communications, exchanging information on trade and sourcing, sharing best practices, and promoting textile and apparel trade. The two organizations are now working to identify specific projects, events and areas of information exchange.

According to the U.S. Commerce Department, China and Hong Kong together account for about 42 percent of U.S. annual apparel imports. China and Hong Kong are also the destination for about $1.8 billion in U.S. textile and apparel exports. China is now the second largest destination for U.S. yarn and the third largest destination for U.S. fabric.

“Given AAFA’s global footprint, and the central role that Hong Kong and China play for our industry as both a sourcing platform and a market, this alliance will help expand AAFA’s international reach to better serve its members,” said AAFA chairman Rick Helfenbein, who is also president of Luen Thai USA. “The HKGCOT is well situated to give AAFA and its membership an expanded presence in Asia.”

Gordon Yen, chairman of HKGCOT, and also chairman of Pure System Ltd., said, “The United States is a key trading partner for many of our members. Having a partner like AAFA who can translate U.S. trade-policy developments is vital to our member companies’ competitiveness.”

Through its member companies, the AAFA represents more than 1,000 brands and is a key voice and information center on legislative and regulatory issues. The HKGCOT is made up of several hundred company members from various segments of the supply chain in Hong Kong and mainland China, including prominent companies in yarn spinning, fabric manufacturing and processing, as well as retailing.

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