October 15, 2003
AWC Reps Have Successful Meeting with Military
Oct. 2003 -- American Wool Council (AWC) consultants Mitch Driggers and Parvez Mehta recently traveled to Natick, Mass., where they visited both Army and Navy development offices. The purpose of the trip was to update military personnel on the progress of new product development, which includes enzyme-treated knitted wool (long underwear), wool/nomex and encapsulation of wool using the Nextec treatment. Seeking guidance regarding the next developmental steps for the programs of interest, as well as exploring possible new projects and funding sources, also were key meeting objectives.
The meeting, which was a continuation of meetings held during last fiscal year, provided additional optimism for the development of products for the U.S. military. It appears that the military will continue to expand on the two, large-scale development projects already underway.
?The AWC continues to make great strides in the areas of product development and product improvement for both military and private industry consumption,? stated Driggers. ?Any time wool can be utilized in product development, the industry benefits.?
The U.S. military is currently the largest consumer of American wool fabric.
Bradford?s Wool Traders Go Electronic
Oct. 2003 -- Wool trading has taken a giant step into the electronic age of trading.
According to British Broadcasting Corporation, the British Wool Marketing Board (BWMB) has introduced a computerized auction system, similar to the one used by Dutch flower sellers.
The BWMB says it wants to cut costs and make the sales process more transparent.
?There was a lot of skepticism and a lot of fear that it was going to change the structure of the industry,? say Ian Hartley, BWMB managing director. ?It is a very traditional industry in some respects, and therefore, we have had to take it slowly.?
The BWMB was set up in 1950 as a non-profit cooperative, aimed at getting the best price for the United Kingdom?s thousands of sheep farmers.
With the electronic system, wool buyers can sit at a terminal anywhere in the world and take part in the bidding. Many of Britain?s sheep farmers, who control the BWMB, are keen to see the auction thrown open to the world. Small quantities of raw wool are even starting to crop up on the on-line auction site, eBay.
Three of Four Textile Safeguard Petitions Accepted
Oct. 2003 -- The Committee for the Implementation for Textile Agreements (CITA) accepted for further consideration three of the four textile China safeguard petitions filed by the U.S. textile and fiber industry on July 24.
The petitions on knit fabric, brasseries and dressing gowns were accepted.
The committee is soliciting public comments on the petition, in particular with regard to whether imports from China of knit fabric, brasseries or dressing gowns are, due to market disruption, threatening to impede the orderly development of trade in these products.
Spokesman for the U.S. textile and fiber industries, Lloyd Wood, said on behalf of the petitioners, ?We strongly urge those states, counties, cities, cotton farmers, wool producers and businesses adversely affected by nearly 300,000 textile and apparel industry job losses since January of 2001 to register their comments in favor of the China safeguard petitions.?
Comments must be submitted by Sept. 17, 2003, to the Chairman, Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements; Room 3001, United States Department of Commerce; 14th and Constitution Avenue, N.W.; Washington, D.C. 20230.