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Heimtextil 2003 kicks off

Frankfurt, Germany — Representatives from the U.S. Department of Commerce joined industry executives this morning to acknowledge the role of the United States as the official Partnerland country of the 2003 Heimtextil international trade fair here.

"Overall, international trade has brought tremendous benefits to the U.S. economy," said Jim Leonard, deputy assistant secretary for the Department of Commerce for textiles, apparel and consumer goods industries, during a morning press conference today.

"Given that the U.S. textiles industry faces intense international competition, and given that there is tremendous capacity for textile production all over the world, it will be a challenge for our textile companies to adjust to a global economy," he added.

Leonard pointed to a three-pronged formula for responding to global pressures: de-emphasizing production of products that are more vulnerable to foreign competition, investing in productive plants and equipment, and expanding manufacturing into countries close to the home market.

"To be internationally competitive in the new world trading environment, U.S. textiles producers are investing in improving productivity, engaging in product specialization and establishing a presence in a growing number of markets," Leonard said.

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