Apparel Sourcing Intelligence - Worldwide

Is this a Southern Hemisphere April Fool?

Do they do April 1 six months early in the Southern Hemisphere?

Every now and again, a story crops up we just don’t believe. Someone, somewhere, is confused, lying, being conned or trying an April Fool some reporter’s not twigged.

Here’s this week’s. Exactly six months after April 1, Brian Brink, executive director of South Africa’s Textile Federation (TexFed) announced in an interview that South Africa’s quotas against Chinese imports of clothes and fabric have done nothing to protect his country’s industry – because, apart from anything else, restrictions on imports from China just mean more imports from India, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Fair enough. But here’s where someone’s on a different planet.
“Oman, Mongolia, the Cocos and Keeling Islands, the Cayman Islands, St Kitts and Tuvalu amongst others have all recently emerged as suppliers of clothing to South Africa” he’s reported as telling us.

Oman does – just – have a garment and textile industry. Mongolia has a significant, though struggling, cashmere industry. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if South Africans were buying some of it – though it would be pretty surprising if a South African textile industry spokesman WERE surprised.

But the Cocos and Keeling Islands, the Cayman Islands, St Kitts and Tuvalu? Cobblers.
There’s hardly a sewing machine in any of them – and the only yarn that gets spun in any of them are the tales they tell their local taxman. South Africa’s Customs may well be dumb (or bent) enough to let Chinese textiles get imported on some phoney bit of paper saying they were made in a half-empty tax haven where the local postman’s mum is the only garment maker – and then only when she’s knitting a sweater for her grandkids in London. But textile federations are there to spot cons like this, tell their governments and make sure the idiot (or crooked) official who let the goods in gets fired.

So next time you’re a bit short of cash, should you pick up the phone, call TexFed on +27 11 454 2342 and ask for Brian?. Tell him you’ve got a special offer this week on Brooklyn Bridge, and he’s the kind of perceptive, hard-nosed trader who’s bound to appreciate what good value it is?

Or wonder which didn’t spot that maybe in South Africa they just do April fool in the Southern Hemisphere spring? Irony is just wasted on some people