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MILAN — Exhibitors at Moda In focused on their fashion offerings, which are key for small and midsized Italian companies trying to withstand intense competition from manufacturers in the developing world.

That rivalry only will intensify next year, after the 147 nations of the World Trade Organization drop their quotas on textiles and apparel. A report recently released by ISTAT, the Italian National Bureau of Statistics, stated that Third World competition has severely affected the Italian textile industry.

In 2003, the Italians lost 7.3 percent of their textile export market, which dropped to 4.3 million euros, or $4.9 million at last year’s average exchange rate. The report said export sales dropped an additional 6.2 percent through the first quarter of 2004.

— P.M.

This story first appeared in the September 21, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.