Blog: Leonie BarrieDo trade deals rule?

Leonie Barrie | 23 March 2007

Next month the annual Apparel Sourcing Show takes place in Guatemala City – the timing meaning that it will provide both exhibitors and visitors with a chance to take stock of the first full year of the US-Central America and Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) and what it has meant for the region’s clothing and textile industry so far.

At a seminar organised in New York last month, Guatemala’s Apparel and Textile Industry Commission (VESTEX) pointed out that the duty-free advantage is not an exclusive benefit to the CAFTA-DR countries. Instead, the region is supplementing this and its proximity to market with a range of full service capabilities, including “clusters” that embrace everything from fabrics, yarns and threads from regional mills, to trims and post-assembly processing, even to design support.

It’s a view that has been echoed on the other side of the world too. Earlier this month at the Textile Institute conference in Sri Lanka, US attorney Brenda Jacobs questioned the relevance of trade deals to a country that is able to satisfy its buyers in other ways – such as reducing product cost, legal and ethical compliance, shortening lead times, increasing flexibility, good quality, and logistics. 

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