NEW YORK — Struggling with manufacturing declines and facing more competition when apparel and textile quotas are lifted, Chinatown clothing manufacturers plan a trade mission to China to establish new business alliances.
The Greater Blouse, Skirt & Undergarment Association intends to send about 20 representatives to the Guangdong, Hunan, Sichuan and Yunan provinces Oct. 13-26, said Teddy Lai, executive director of the organization.
Apparel manufacturing employment in New York City has fallen dramatically from its historic highs. In July, the industry head count stood at 29,500 workers, according to the state Department of Labor. That figure is off 39.4 percent from 48,700 in July 2001, two months before the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, which took a heavy toll on the already ailing garment sector in nearby Chinatown.
John Lam, chairman of John Lam Fashion Group, said he has stepped up his involvement in China with a joint venture in Canton that employs about 800 people. The business sells only to Chinese and European customers. After the World Trade Organization drops its textile and apparel quotas on Jan. 1, he plans to begin shipping to the U.S. The Chinese operation is a complement to his 700-person Chinatown factory.
“The business is going to change, and as a business, we have to follow the change,” he said.
— Scott Malone