During the week of September 7-11, 2015, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub accompanied a delegation from the US Consulate in Durban on a visit to Newcastle and Ladysmith in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. The delegation, headed by Consul General Frances Chisholm, met with textile and apparel companies, business leaders, and government officials to promote bilateral trade and investment.
Consul General Chisholm encouraged export-ready textile and footwear manufacturers to seize the opportunity to enter the US market, which is already the top export destination for products from KwaZulu Natal. The Trade Hub highlighted particular opportunities for niche markets such as technical textiles and workwear and discussed AGOA rules and how exporters can benefit from duty exemptions for South African apparel products in the US market. Textile and apparel companies expressed an interest to explore the possibilities of importing US-made raw materials to South Africa and re-export them as final products to the United States.
On September 10, 2015, the Trade Hub participated in an event organized by the US Consulate General in Durban in collaboration with the Durban University of Technology. Participants discussed potential cooperation between the industry and academia to serve the needs of the textiles and apparel industry in KwaZulu Natal.
The apparel industry has been identified as a high growth area for new jobs opportunities; attendees discussed industry needs in terms of skills and competencies required from textiles/apparel university graduates, recent curriculum structures, short professional courses, and coursework. The Southern Africa Trade Hub expert presented on export opportunities to the US market under the AGOA Extension and Enhancement Act as well as international standards required by US buyers in terms of quality and social compliance.
Photo: Consul General Frances Chisholm with the Trade Hub’s Dr. Mohamed Abouiiana and Professor Ahmed Bawa in Durban for the Durban University of Technology event