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    It's a Buyer's Market


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 3/2005

    Photo: photos.com Clothing retailers have the upper hand in today's textiles and clothing market.

    It's a buyer's market in the textiles and clothing industry. In today's post-quota world, let the seller beware! The industry has gone through fast and wrenching changes, especially in the last year.

    Under pressure from buyers, clothing suppliers are becoming service providers. With buyers focused on their core business of retailing, the most competitive suppliers offer services that go far beyond sewing garments. Alliances with fabric and trim producers give manufacturers an edge. They brings manufacturers in at an early stage in providing an important service (sourcing) for buyers.

    Another "must" is related to information and communications technology. Big buyers now insist on technology applications that handle everything from stock management to design to bidding for orders. The articles below give you a flavour of trends and concerns from the perspective of developing and transition economies.

    Sharp competition is a feature of most business sectors, even if the clothing industry stands out right now. With the second World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) taking place in 2005, businesses everywhere still ask the fundamental question, "How can 'e' help me compete?" This group of articles highlights new trends, explains ITC's role at WSIS, and presents the full collection of our magazine articles on the subject. A glance at the titles gives the range of how businesses use "e" in trade.

    With the WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong around the corner, we bring you a seasoned observer's views on topics that developing countries are watching at WTO, as well as delegates' views of ITC initiatives on the multilateral trading system, discussed at its annual meeting earlier this year.

    Finally, a word on trade in services. While we anticipated your interest in this topic, we were surprised by the popularity of services articles in Trade Forum online. More on service exports will appear in our next issue, drawing on the experiences of this year's Executive Forum on National Export Strategies.

    Thank you to all our readers for your continued confidence and interest.

    Natalie Domeisen