MEDIA RELEASE

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE
AUSTRALIA

D76

22 October 1998

Expanding Asia-Pacific Networks: Good News for the Textile and Clothing Industries

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) spearheaded an initiative to establish a Natural Fibres Textiles and Clothing Trade Facilitation Committee at the Asia Pacific Textiles and Clothing Industry Forum (ASPAC) in Manila, Philippines on 13 and 14 October.

DFAT, in conjunction with industry representatives from Cotton Australia, The Woolmark Company, the Council for Textiles and Fashion Industries of Australia and the Department of Primary Industries and Energy attended the ASPAC conference, in Manila, and succeeded in gaining support and agreement to establish a Natural Fibres Textiles and Clothing Trade Facilitation Committee from all participating economies.

Michael Tietge, delegation leader and DFAT Market Access Facilitator, said establishment of the committee is a major achievement for the Australian textiles and clothing industries.

"We have created an international platform to discuss natural fibres textiles and clothing trade facilitation issues. This platform will be used to develop cooperation and achieve agreement on standards and practices to deliver real commercial results for Australian industry," Mr Tietge said.

The Natural Fibres Textiles and Clothing Trade Facilitation Committee will enable market access issues to be identified and effective solutions agreed on. There is real potential for further expansion of textile and clothing trade dialogue in the Asia Pacific region.

DFAT will coordinate with industry, both within Australia and all participating Asia Pacific economies, preparatory work over the next 12 months, in time for the inaugural meeting of the new committee, to be held in New Delhi in 1999.

Media Inquiries:

Kirk Coningham: 02 6261 1593
Michael Tietge: 02 62613465