MAGIC's August best apparel market for Lanka
The Island - Sunday, July 27 2003
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MAGIC, the world’s largest apparel trade event, is the greatest starting point which offers Sri Lanka the best opportunity to secure direct orders from a marketplace of 85,000 buyers at a crucial time when garment quotas are due to end by 2005, Maria Rajanagam, Executive Director, American Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka (AMCHAM) said last week.

“With the imminent termination of the Lanka-Us Multi Fiber Agreement, the time is ripe for Sri Lanka to think to think in terms of alternative measures to ensure the survival of the country’s garment industry. Sri Lanka has the potential for top quality apparel products to offer the world. What is required is to step into the right marketplace and get the message across,” she told a news conference at the Colombo Plaza.
MAGIC, the largest fashion business event in the globe will be held in Las Vegas, USA from August 25 – 28. An arena of 85,000 buyers from 110 countries, 7,000 exhibitors and 33,000 departmental stores representing stalls covering 800,000 square feet of floor space, this grand show boasts of an unparalleled selling power of more than US$ 64 billion.

In USA alone there is a buying power of US$ 180 billion. Of this, 120 billion is generated from 39 top corporations called the major retail clusters.

“MAGIC is all about meeting the right people and putting a face to the name and a name to face. It’s the ideal opportunity for Sri Lanka to receive exposure at a giant arena of the world’s top buyers and decision makers,” Rajanayagam noted.
With the abolition of the apparel quota system in 2005, about 50% of the factories face the threat of closure, which will inevitably result in around 500,000 direct and indirect workers being denied of employment if alternate purchase orders are not secured, warned Hiran Jayasinghe, MAGIC’s local representative and President, SUMMIT Corporation (PVT) Ltd.

MAGIC, a US$ 8 billion company launched its first event in 1933. A biannual show held in February and August each year, it attracts the world’s largest apparel purchasing community including the top 37 buying clusters in North America.
Asked whether the backing of the relevant ministry in Sri Lanka has not been sought for a global show of this magnitude, Jayasinghe said repeated attempts were made to establish contact, but it was futile.
MAGIC’s Director of International Sales Development had also written to Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe in May this year saying any assistance from him would elevate the trade show to Sri Lankan manufacturers who would benefit from such exposure.
“The Premier has not responded so far,” he said.

A few local apparel companies have already interested and it would be encouraging if anything between 20-40 of them do participate, he said.
The cost of the package for participation is under Rs. 7000,000 for two persons on business class with 4 days accommodation and a booth at the venue.
Countries in the SAARC region and China and Vietnam take part in a big way at MAGIC
where 93% make purchases and 52% of attendees are vice presidents and top decision-makers of major companies. There are also the small boutique buyers, designer brands and private label companies.

As the International Fashion Fabric Exhibition, which is widely renowned as the largest textile and trim trade show in North America, will also be aligning with the MAGIC August show, it will be a big boost to the participants, Jayasinghe explained.

“Sri Lanka has high quality apparel products to offer. The price is important but it’s only one aspect. The price is important but it’s only one aspect. At the end of the day, it’s only one aspect. At the end of the day, it is the customer who makes the final decision.
With all the positive aspects. Sri Lanka must make use of this great opportunity to meet people and get the message across,” Rajanagam said.

Explaining that MAGIC is totally with him to support Sri Lanka, Jayasinghe said the organizers have offered a full-page advertisement in the influential MAGIC buyers guidebook free of charge. It would have otherwise cost US$ 5,800.

Asked about the ASAP show, he said it is a small exhibition of not more than 150-200 exhibitors who position themselves in the dining room special events area of the hotel adjacent to the Las Vegas convention center in the hope of reaching some buyers staying at the hotel to attend MAGIC.

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