Byline: Jim Ostroff

WASHINGTON — Linda Wachner, chairman and president of The Warnaco Group, will be scouting for joint venture partners to manufacture intimate apparel in India during a visit there, beginning Saturday, as part of a U.S.-government-led business mission.
Wachner will join executives with 24 other U.S. firms who are touring New Delhi, Bombay and Bangalore with Commerce Secretary Ronald Brown, Jan. 14-19. This Presidential Business Development Mission is aimed at helping American firms win contracts in India, which the Clinton administration has designated as “one of the world’s 10 Big Emerging Markets.”
Wachner, in a telephone interview Tuesday, said Warnaco’s efforts to manufacture intimate apparel in India follows its agreement last year to form a joint venture with Rupert Murdoch, in which Warnaco will use his STAR TV direct satellite television broadcasting system to reach the consumers of India — whose population is 886 million. Warnaco plans to make its direct sales presentation to Indian consumers in a format similar to that used in the U.S. on home shopping programs. However, the sales pitch will be made only during regular program commercial breaks.
Warnaco, Wachner said, hopes to have a joint venture intimate apparel deal done by the fourth quarter of this year.
During the trip, Brown is scheduled to sign the memorandum of understanding under which India has agreed to open its markets to U.S. textiles and apparel. As reported, this agreement was completed at the end of last year under the aegis of GATT.
Most of Brown’s entourage includes executives with U.S. high tech, consumer electronics and financial services companies. Among those from other sectors besides Wachner, is Earnest W. Deavenport Jr., chairman of Eastman Chemical Co., Kingsport, Tenn., which manufacturers textile fibers, among other products. — Fairchild News Service