The organisers of Prime Source, the networking event for the international apparel industry to be held in Hong Kong in March 2006, has announced the endorsement of the event by the Foreign Trade Association (FTA). The FTA is the only European trade association that represents the foreign trade interests of European commerce. It advocates free world trade and the liberal development and strengthening of the multilateral trading system within the framework of the World Trade Organisation. Headquartered in Brussels, its members are national retail trade associations and individual firms from nearly all European countries.

Commenting on this new event, FTA Secretary-General Jan Eggert said: ‘Prime Source will not just benefit the apparel industry but will provide a forum for senior-level dialogue between trading nations that leads to greater cooperation and mutual benefits across all fronts.’

FTA’s endorsement adds on to that already extended by the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) and the United States Association of Importers of Textile & Apparel (USA-ITA). These three endorsing associations collectively represent the largest buyers of apparel and textile products in the major markets of Europe and the USA, and are working closely with the organiser of Prime Source to design a programme that is fitted to the needs of the industry.

Kevin Burke, President/CEO of AAFA in welcoming the launch of Prime Source said: ‘This is the event that the industry has been waiting for. For years we have awaited the lifting of quotas, and now we need a worldwide event where our members can source fabrics, trims and finished apparel from wherever they want. Hong Kong is exactly the place to do that. Given our success at the APLF for the past fifteen years, we know that this will be an equally rewarding experience for our apparel sourcing executives.’

Prime Source also has the support of the major association for the sector in the host city. A highly influential organisation throughout the region, the Hong Kong Textile Council comprises ten major textiles associations representing the entire range of activities from spinning, weaving, knitting, dyeing and finishing, garment making to the manufacture of textile goods. The Council’s main objective is to promote and foster the interests of the textile industry of Hong Kong as a whole. It acts as a voice for the industry and also undertakes study missions, projects, seminars and other activities.

Leaders of the international apparel industry who are part of the Prime Source Advisory Board include: Kevin Burke, President/CEO, AAFA; Wesley Card, chief operating & financial officer, Jones Apparel Group; Jan Eggert, secretary-general, FTA; Ed Emma, president/COO, Jockey International; Ms Laura Jones, executive director, USA-ITA; Dr Harry Lee, managing director, TAL Ltd; Andrew Leung, chairman, Hong Kong Textile Council; Peter McGrath, Chairman, J C Penney Purchasing Corporation.

‘The strong industry support is indicative that Prime Source is the event the industry needs’, says Michael Duck, director of APLF Ltd, the organiser of Prime Source. ‘The effects of the changes in the quota system for the global apparel industry are far-reaching and today, Prime Source as a forum and trade show is ready to serve as a catalyst for nations, manufacturers and the industry worldwide to seek solutions to these new challenges.’