Press Release
For immediate release
23 October 2009

PRIME SOURCE THINKTANK LAUNCHED:
AAFA AND WRAP JOIN FORCES WITH INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS TO CHAIR THINKTANK GROUPS

In collaboration with the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), the Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) and the Apparel and Footwear Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) in Hong Kong, APLF, which organises the annual Prime Source Forum, has launched the Prime Source ThinkTank, a new platform for discussion among senior executives of the international apparel industry.

Mr. Stephen Lamar, Executive VP of the AAFA, stated, “The global economic recession has triggered new calls for, and new fears of, protectionism.  While the G20 continually calls for restraint, the US is about to discuss reforming its trade preference programmes, possibly creating new opportunities to source duty free apparel.  However, current beneficiaries are resisting and policy-makers are grappling with complicated questions of conditionality.”

As Chair of a Prime Source ThinkTank discussion group, Lamar will initiate discussions on plans to tackle current trade policy issues.  He said, “The Prime Source ThinkTank will allow the industry to talk with people who are following and affecting the top issues of the day, helping to generate dialogues 365 days a year.”

Mr. Michael Duck, Director of APLF Ltd., said, “Unlike other electronic platforms, the Prime Source ThinkTank is a social media platform that is designed to enable senior executives in the apparel industry to communicate with their peers in an electronic format that overcomes geographical constraints and is perfect for networking.

“There will be eight Prime Source ThinkTank discussion groups (see Addendum) chaired by ten senior executives who are experts in specific areas.  I am confident that our Chairs will stimulate and respond to discussions with their peers spontaneously.  Thanks are due to all the 2009-2010 ThinkTank Chairs for the time and effort they have contributed to this international apparel platform,” he added.

Mr. Stuart Harbinson, Former Senior Adviser of the WTO and Chair of the Legal Affairs ThinkTank Group, said, “The textiles and clothing industry is at the cutting edge of modern business practices because it has to get the right product to the right market at the right time.  The industry provides a product closely connected to people’s livelihoods and cultures, yet has been subject to significant government regulatory activity.  Although progress has been made recently, barriers to international trade in the sector are still higher than in many other sectors, giving producers, importers, exporters and retailers worldwide a strong common interest in regularly sharing information and ideas, and discussing the latest developments.  The annual Prime Source Forum provides an ideal, possibly unique, framework for doing that, and I look forward to participating in the new and exciting Prime Source ThinkTank initiative.”

Mr. Michael Lavergne, who has been closely involved in Prime Source Forum activities, stated, “The Prime Source Forum has already built a solid reputation for bringing together key decision-makers from our industry.  With the Prime Source ThinkTank, delegates have a real-time, social media tool to discuss many of the key issues facing them in a frank, confidential environment and this has tremendous value.”  Lavergne is Chair of the Corporate Social Responsibility ThinkTank Group.

"The Prime Source ThinkTank is a natural extension of the Prime Source Forum and will allow participants from all parts of the industry to continue to discuss issues, challenges and trends as they are happening.  There is no need to wait for a year for panel discussions.  The success of the ThinkTank relies on the participation of our peers,” said Mr. Roger Lee, Director of TAL Apparel Ltd. and one of the Chairs of the Technology ThinkTank Group.

Mr. Edgar Tung, CEO of Zymmetry, added, “I am honoured to co-chair the Technology Group with Roger.  Technology has revolutionised many ways we do business today, not least with the popularity of social and professional online networks.  Thanks to Prime Source Forum's organisers, we now have an online forum dedicated to the apparel industry in which to bounce ideas around, exchange intel and explore business opportunities with no geographic boundaries.”

Duck said, “Instead of repeating similar topics year after year, delegates can review situations on a regular basis, and look for progress and achievement through the Prime Source ThinkTank.”

“I support the Prime Source ThinkTank as I believe it will be a great way to share ideas and information about topics of concern in the sourcing field.  It will also be a neat way to put out topics and get feedback from our peers, as well as build consensus on ways the apparel industry can move things forward,” added Mr. Thomas A. Nelson of VF Asia, Chair of the Supply Chain Group.

Mr. André Leroy, Chair of the Product Safety Group, said, “I am very excited to join this new initiative.  I have worked with major brands on the impact the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) is having on our industry and how we can reduce safety risks while minimising unnecessary testing.  I am looking forward to augmenting my efforts by addressing the increasingly complex challenges of product safety.”

Past Prime Source Forum delegates and their colleagues, vendors, clients and service providers can register for specific ThinkTank Groups.  “The dialogues will be open only to registered ThinkTank members, not the general public, to ensure that senior executives are able to exchange ideas with their peers freely and without concerns.  We welcome not only the Chairs, but also the participants to join the discussions; after all, these active participants could be ThinkTank Chairs in the future,” Duck continued.

Duck went on to emphasise, "The Prime Source ThinkTank will not replace the Forum, which will be held again next March.  This year, we experienced tough financial times but, with strong support from endorsing organisations, and the senior executives in the industry, Prime Source Forum 2009 was able to attract a slightly higher number of delegates.  The Forum has earned its reputation and become a ‘must-attend’ annual networking event for the international apparel industry.  Our delegates expect the Forum to continue and we will not disappoint them,” he added.

The 5th Prime Source Forum is scheduled to be held in the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre from 29 to 31 March 2010.  The organisers expect some 500 senior executives to attend.


Background note on Prime Source Forum:
Prime Source Forum has been held in Hong Kong every year since 2006, bringing together senior management from across the globe to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing manufacturers, suppliers and retailers involved in the production and sale of garments/textiles.  This international event also offers ample opportunity for delegates to network with their peers, mingle with the expert panelists, and exchange ideas with their peers and competitors alike on issues of mutual interest.

APLF Ltd is a joint-venture between UBM Asia Ltd. (www.ubmasia.com) and the SIC Group of France (www.sicgroup.com).

For further information, contact: -

Ms. Josephine Ching, Forum and Conferences Manager
D: +852 2516 2195 | E:
[email protected]| www.primesourceforum.com

Ms. Bianca Chan, Sales and Marketing Executive
D: +852 2585 6137 | E:
[email protected]

Ms. Susanna Chu, Sales and Marketing Executive
D: +852 2585 6125 | E:
[email protected]

Ms. Bonnie Wu, Marketing Communications Manager
D: +852 2516 2169 | E:
[email protected]


Addendum

Ten Prime Source ThinkTank Chairs will host eight discussion groups.  They are:

 

·              The Corporate Social Responsibility Group, chaired by Michael Lavergne, Director of Asian Operations, Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP)

·              The Education and Human Resources Group, chaired by Peter Liu, Managing Director of AsiaNet Consultants, and Prof. Angela Peers of Principal Lecturer, Department of Clothing Design and Technology, Manchester Metropolitan University

·              The Legal Affairs Group, chaired by Stuart Harbinson, Former Senior Advisor to the WTO and Senior Trade Policy Advisor, Winston & Strawn LLP

·              The Product Safety Group, chaired by André Leroy, Marketing Director, Modern Testing Services; Chairman, Apparel & Footwear Committee, The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong (AMCHAM)

·              The Supply Chain Group, chaired by Thomas A. Nelson, Managing Director of VF Asia Ltd.

·              The Sustainability Group, chaired by Willie Beuth, Founder of the 3p Institute for Sustainable Management

·              The Technology Group, chaired by Roger Lee, Director, TAL Apparel Ltd. and Edgar Tung, CEO, the Zymmetry Group

·              The Trade Policy Group, chaired by Stephen Lamar, Executive Vice President, American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA)