Apparel manufacturers from eight Western Hemisphere countries will get an intimate look at U.S. cotton yarn and fabric production on Sept. 24-27 as part of Cotton Council International’s (CCI) 2012 COTTON USA Western Hemisphere Uniform & Western Hemisphere Manufacturers Tour. The focus of this trip is on the uniform industry - a new, growing and important market for U.S. yarn and fabrics. This and all COTTON USA Sourcing Programs seek to develop business relationships throughout the cotton textile and apparel chain with the objective of increasing exports of U.S. manufactured cotton products to the Western Hemisphere.

The tour participants represent companies in Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, El Salvador, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. They represent a significant market having imported more than 3 million bale equivalents (480 lb.) of U.S. textiles and apparel in the 2011 marketing year.

The manufacturers will first attend a seminar on the 25th in Asheville, N.C., where they will get cotton market and U.S. uniform market outlooks and hear reports on advancements in cotton technologies for the uniform market and sourcing requirements for the uniform market. They also will participate in a trade fair there that day that will include seven U.S.-based uniform companies: 511 Tactical, Encompass Corporate, G&K Services, New Balance Athletic Shoe, Superior Uniform Group, VF Corporation, and Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing.

The next two days the participants will tour various U.S. textile mills, including American Denimatrix, Lubbock, Tex.; Alamac American Knits, Lumberton, N.C.; Antex Knitting Mills, Los Angeles, Calif.; Buhler Quality Yarns, Jefferson, Ga.; Carolina Cotton Works, Gaffney, S.C.; Contempora Fabrics, Lumberton, N.C.; Frontier Spinning Mills, Sanford, N.C.; Hamrick Mills, Gaffney, S.C.; Jo-Mar Spinning, Belmont, S.C.; Mt. Vernon Mills, Trion, Ga.; Parkdale Mills, Gastonia, N.C.; Tuscarora Yarns, Mt. Pleasant, N.C.; and Zagis USA, Lafayette, Louisiana.

“CCI is focusing on the uniform sector because it is estimated that one-fourth of all U.S. employees wear a uniform,” said CCI President James L. “Jimmy” Webb, a Leary, Ga., cotton producer. “We hope these companies will begin escalating their use of cotton in their uniform lines and will consider U.S.-produced cotton yarn and fabric. That’s why we are giving them a firsthand look at these U.S. mills that are global leaders in quality, innovation and superior service.”