Blog: Leonie BarriePrime Source Forum

Leonie Barrie | 28 March 2008

I’ve just come to the end of a totally manic day, but guess that’s always the case before heading out of the office for a week. I’m now off to Hong Kong for the Prime Source Forum that takes place next week (1-2 April). 

It’s billed as “the annual meeting of the global apparel industry,” and while that’s a pretty bold claim to make, I hope I won’t be disappointed. I certainly wasn’t when I attended last year, and the line-up of speakers suggests the latest event won’t be any different.

Speakers include Dr William Fung, group managing director of the Li & Fung Limited, who will give the keynote address on ‘Global Sourcing in the Next Three Years.’ Given his company has just posted a 39% jump in profits, it’ll be interesting to hear how he sees the industry’s future.

Other panellists include Dr Harry Lee, chairman of the Textile Council of Hong Kong, and CEO of TAL Group; Dr John Cheh, vice chairman and CEO of the Esquel Group of Companies; Rufus Yerxa, deputy general of the World Trade Organization; Fernando Urrea, president of Leonisa SA, Colombia; and Fritz Winans, corporate senior vice president and president, global sourcing and manufacturing, Liz Claiborne Inc.

Among the sessions over the two days are: Free trade or fair trade; The interaction between trade associations and governments in shaping globalisation policies; Business improvement in retailing; Traceability, product safety and sustainable environmental protection; The changing retail scene in the western world and the potential in emerging countries; and How to define social responsibility.

Of course there’s a lot more going on than I’ve mentioned here, including various workshop sessions on Monday. And there are some big industry issues in the melting pot that will surely stir up some interesting discussions.

Take the lifting of US safeguard quotas on Chinese imports at the end of this year, or the rising costs of production – not only in China but in many of the world’s sourcing hotspots – and the increasing prevalence of green business issues.

If I wasn’t so exhausted I think I’d be getting excited! 


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